On Bank Litigation–E-discovery (Part 3): Creating a Data Map and Assembling a Discovery Response Team

Stan Gibson returns to the Special Assets Lawyer Blog with the third segment of his important series on Litigation Readiness and Electronic Discovery. In his last segment, Stan Gibson explained why it is so crucial to quickly locate and preserve the bank’s records by implementing a Litigation Hold. This time, Stan explains what a Data Map is and why you will need one to successfully navigate the waters of electronically stored information.

The JMBM Special Assets Team™ understands how lenders keep records, both electronically and on paper during this transitional age. We know that in addition to the credit file and the legal file, bank officers often keep desk files, save e-mails in electronic folders, and write reports that end up on several desks around the bank. A thorough and thoughtful search of the bank’s records can produce a wealth of valuable information that often turns the tide in a lawsuit. But as Stan explains, if your institution has prepared a Data Map, it can reduce the time, cost and energy required to comply with discovery requests for both electronic and paper records.

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Creating a Data Map and Assembling a Discovery Response Team

This is the third article in a series about litigation readiness and electronic discovery. Read about record retention and legal holds first.

Creating a Data Map

Having all your documents organized and preserved is one thing–but during a lawsuit, you’ll need to hand them over to opposing counsel. Because electronically stored information is not tangible the way hard copies are (you can’t simply hand over a stack of electronic data), you’ll need to put together a map to give the other side an idea of where they can find the documents you are legally obligated to turn over.

A data map should define what information is accessible and what would be a financial or other burden to recover. Reasonably accessible data will be collected and turned over; data that isn’t reasonably accessible will be documented but not searched or collected in a federal court case.

Your own IT department or an outside company will create the data map; regardless of who makes it, it should be thorough and identify all the locations of electronically stored information. Both IT and your legal department should review it to make sure it contains any necessary information or definitions and identify ahead of time which types of information are usually needed during litigation . A simplified version of this data map should be provided to outside counsel so that all requests for electronic information during litigation are met consistently.

The Discovery Response Team

Once your data map is complete, your company should appoint individuals from legal, IT and records to respond to requests for information. There may be a different team in place for different types of litigation–labor cases, product liability, intellectual property, etc. These individuals should be carefully selected so that the people who understand the documents most likely to be needed for each type of litigation will be able to give their input.

In addition to employees, your company should identify an outside vendor to handle e-discovery projects that are specialized or do not follow the general protocol. Each group should also have a witness who can explain procedures and legal holds during a trial. They should be someone who can handle questioning communicate positively with both judges and juries.

NEXT: The Data Assembly Process

This is Dick Rogan, bank lawyer and author of www.SpecialAssetsLawyer.com, signing off for now. Join us again soon to check out what’s new in the World of Workouts.

Year after year, day after day, workout professionals in the know rely on JMBM’s Special Assets Team™ to handle problem commercial and real estate loans. Whatever problem loans you have, chances are, we’ve seen it. Give us a call.

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Our Perspective. JMBM represents commercial banks, special servicers, private lenders, asset-based lenders, hard money lenders and factors. We help lender clients throughout the United States craft business and legal solutions to their commercial and real estate troubled loans. For more information, please contact Dick Rogan at RRogan@JMBM.com, or (415) 398-8080.

Richard A. Rogan is Chair of the JMBM Special Assets Team™. He also serves as the co-managing partner of JMBM’s San Francisco office and co-chair of its Bankruptcy Practice Group.

JMBM’s Special Assets Team™ has represented hundreds of lenders in California and throughout the United States. We regularly appear in bankruptcy courts, district courts and superior courts. We are proud to serve as trusted counsel and advisors who look for a business solution and try to help lenders find the best possible resolution for each troubled loan. Whether a loan is being newly documented, restructured or litigated, JMBM’s Special Assets Team™ has the skill, know-how and experience to solve your problem in a practical no-nonsense way.

NOTE TO CONSUMERS: As a matter of Firm policy, JMBM does not represent individual consumers who have disputes with their lenders. Many lenders have specialized consumer workout professionals who have the time to help consumer borrowers. There are many fine attorneys who specialize in representing consumers. Individuals with consumer lending problems should contact a lawyer or law firm who specializes in consumer insolvency and bankruptcy in their local area. When in doubt, we suggest you contact your local bar association’s Lawyer Referral Service. [For example, see Bar Association of SF or LA County Bar Association Lawyer Referral Services]

JMBM does not provide legal advice to consumers, and cannot respond to consumer inquiries.