The discovery stage of a lawsuit can be defined as the initial proceeding of litigation, where two opposing parties have the opportunity to formally exchange information. The discovery stage can uncover physical, verbal and digital evidence. Electronic discovery, or e-discovery, is the process of collecting, analyzing and producing electronic information that could be used in court. Below, the computer forensics and safe data destruction experts at Atlantic Data Forensics explain what you need to know about the discovery process in litigation.

The Discovery Process Allows Both Sides to Prepare

During the discovery process, both parties have the chance to gain awareness of what evidence may be presented against them in court. This process is put in place in order to ensure that both parties are best prepared for what evidence could potentially be presented in trial. This initial stage of litigation is imperative because it can prevent “trial by ambush,” in which one side is not made aware of opposing evidence until the trial and is subsequently unprepared.

The Discovery Process Contains Various Methods

The two major types of discovery include depositions and interrogatories. A deposition, one of the most common types of discovery, is a formal and out-of-court statement given under oath. An interrogatory is a written question that one party may submit to the other party. These questions require answers under oath and within a certain time frame. An additional method of discovery includes subpoenaing, where one side requests that the other side produce certain documents for inspection.

During the process of e-discovery, electronically-stored information (ESI) can be produced as evidence in court, and includes, but is not limited to, emails, voicemails, social media posts and website content. While the process of e-discovery is often complex, it can be used to uncover a host of different types of electronically-stored evidence. Data, after it is discovered, cannot be changed, deleted or altered in any way.

The Discovery Process Has Limitations

There are certain restrictions as to what information can be uncovered during the discovery stage of litigation. While evidence directly related to a lawsuit is permissible to manifest, protections are placed on certain information that is indirectly-related to the case. For instance, conversations engaged between people in certain relationships, such as a husband and wife, are protected under legal privilege. In addition, privacy rights of outside parties are included in the realm of what evidence cannot be used against a party in the court of law. While there are limitations in place to help preserve the privacy rights of citizens, the dynamic procedures surrounding the attainment of relevant electronic documentation can aid in the preparation of a trial.

Speak to a Computer Forensics Expert at Atlantic Data Forensics About the E-Discovery Process

As it is becoming more common for information to be stored digitally, the process of e-discovery is often necessary during the initial stages of litigation. The computer forensics and safe data destruction experts at Atlantic Data Forensics can help you navigate the intricacies of the e-discovery process and assist you in the collection of the electronic information you may need for a trial preparation. If you would like to learn more about the services provided by Atlantic Data Forensics, contact us today!