This article, “How to Mitigate 3 Key eDiscovery Challenges,” appeared in the publication Construction Business Owner, where BIA’s Barry Schwartz discusses legal situations recurrent in the construction industry. Barry outlines how having a customized, detailed eDiscovery plan will allow companies to spend more time and money growing their business, instead of being stuck managing litigation.
In 2019, both the costs and time required to resolve legal disputes in the North American construction industry jumped significantly, by 15% or more. For 2020 and beyond, you can bet that the number of disputes and amount of costs will continue to increase, as COVID-19 has wreaked havoc on personal lives and across nearly all industries. The global pandemic has exposed construction workers and management to health, financial, and many other risks, which leads to delays in project completion.
With legal disputes inevitable, how can construction companies face these challenges head-on while avoiding unnecessary increases in time and money spent? A first step is understanding three top legal challenges for the construction industry.
Challenge 1: Frequent lawsuits. Think about claims of negligence, like workplace injuries, when safety protocols are not followed. Breach of contract claims are also incredibly common, for instance when a project’s completion is delayed for any number of reasons. These are standard legal disputes in a litigation-heavy industry, but their frequency has increased significantly in recent years.
Challenge 2: Vast quantities of data. Construction isn’t just hammers and nails – projects accumulate massive amounts of digital data. Consider how any given construction project can involve multiple vendors and employees, applications, documents, communications, videos, and employee or contractor management systems. All these files, instances of communication, and system data may end up stored on a labyrinthine network of devices and databases.
Challenge 3: Significant regulatory requirements. Projects are subject to local, state, and federal regulations, like those mandated by OSHA or the EPA. Careful compliance with such regulatory bodies can require a significant amount of time and energy spent on administrative details.
Maximize your business with an eDiscovery process in place.
In construction, the increasing quantity of lawsuits, myriad locations and types of relevant data, and complexity of legal regulatory compliance highlight how multifaceted and complicated a project can be. Construction businesses should plan well in advance, keeping constant communication and coordination among multiple departments, including the Legal department. Planning ahead and involving the legal team is essential to proactive preparation for these complicated issues; setting up a clear eDiscovery plan will give each party the solutions they need. With a plan in place, each legal matter can be managed consistently, effectively, and correctly, time after time.
- What does a solid eDiscovery plan involve?
- Written policies for managing litigations and document retention
- Attention to each stage of the discovery process
- Considering special services, like social media investigations for worker’s compensation claims
- eDiscovery point people in your company, such as a designated steering committee
- An eDiscovery vendor with proven computer forensics experience and expertise
- Custodian questionnaires and a clear legal hold kickoff process
- Vetted tech platforms to manage, collect, and export company data
- Regular policy audit schedules to ensure compliance
These are key factors to consider when crafting your construction company’s eDiscovery plan and processes. Barry’s article offers specific details on how to get started and set up these frameworks. As eDiscovery vendors with decades of experience, BIA helps companies do their eDiscovery legwork and preparation up-front, because we know from experience that the result is repeated litigation management success.
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