These days the flow of business information is fast. Long gone are the days where you had to write a letter or make a phone call to transmit a quick communication. Today, you can simply shoot someone an email or, as is increasingly common, send someone a text message or post on their Facebook wall.
Also just as quickly, you can often make that electronic evidence disappear with one stroke of the keyboard.
If you end up in a Portland business fraud dispute or a Seattle breach of contract case, your attorney will enter into the discovery process and start asking the other side for documents that will either help prosecute or defend your case.
Unlike the old days when letters were just kept in files, it's not always easy to get at the necessary documents in a business lawsuit. This is particularly true where the recipient of an email, text or other electronic communication can simply hit delete.
In recent years, the concept of a litigation hold has... well, taken hold. A litigation hold is a requirement that a company may be required to institute procedures to preserve electronic data once they know a lawsuit is coming. This means no wiping of the server, no getting rid of back up tapes, etc.
What's more is that the company may be required to notify all of its employees that litigation is pending and that they should do nothing to destroy documents. This is a major decision for many companies, and if they decide to allow documents to be destroyed, they could end up in big trouble in their legal case when a savvy business lawyer exploits the destruction to their advantage.
The litigation hold is an important aspect of all business litigation and it's becoming increasingly commonplace in commercial litigation in Seattle and Portland.