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Electronic Discovery and Content Management Discussions and Issues

The Importance of Data Mapping

One of our large clients were presented with the following request:

Provide a detailed description of how all <Enterprise Client> computers are networked or connected to others (with a graphical representation-Map if one is available)

One of our team members approached this request in the following way

Is this a data map for litigation purposes? And if so, is it internal purposes (i.e. legal counsel using it to determine what should be put on hold) or is it to be given to the court or other side (Rule 26 info)?

In this case, the client needed to satisfy Rule 26. The rationale for data mapping is derived from several rules in the FRCP. In particular, Rule 26(a)(1)(A) directly specifies the need for a data map. Additionally, data mapping eases the burden of fulfilling other FRCP rules by streamlining the eDiscovery process. According to these rules include:

1.       Data map for delivery to opposing party: FRCP Rule 26(a)(1)(A) specifies that parties must provide each other with “a copy — or a description by category and location — of all documents, electronically stored information, and tangible things that the disclosing party has in its possession, custody, or control and may use to support its claims or defenses.” Additionally, information must be provided on “each individual likely to have discoverable information.”

2.       Meet & confer meeting preparation: FRCP Rule 26(f) specifies that opposing parties must meet within 99 days of the onset of litigation to discuss how eDiscovery will be handled. This includes: (a) what ESI is to be covered; (b) how ESI is stored; (c) how the information will be produced; (d) accessibility of the information; and (e) issues related to privileged ESI.

3.       Not reasonably accessible argument support: FRCP Rule 26(b)(2) allows organizations to exclude ESI from eDiscovery if it is “not reasonably accessible because of undue burden or cost.”

4.       Safe harbor and sanction avoidance: Rule 37(e) provides a safe harbor from sanctions for ESI that is “lost as a result of the routine, good-faith operation of an electronic information system.”




 Advanced data mapping can greatly help larger organizations effectively operate in the increasingly complex information governance environment that resulted from the amended FRCP. Moreover, by understanding the fundamental requirements driving data mapping, organizations can deploy a solution and develop processes that minimize costs on a case-by-case basis, decrease response times, limit potential sanctions for underproduction of ESI, and ultimately improve their litigation success over

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