Wednesday, July 1, 2009
Gov. Schwarzenegger Signs Electronic Discovery Bill
By a MetNews Staff Writer
Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger has signed legislation implementing new rules for electronic discovery in civil cases.
The governor’s office said late Monday that he had signed AB 5, by Assemblywoman Noreen Evans, D-Santa Rosa, the Electronic Discovery Act. The bill was co-authored by Sens. Ellen Corbett, D-San Leandro and Tom Harman, R-Costa Mesa, and Assembly members Mike Feuer- D-West Hollywood, and Van Tran, R-Costa Mesa.
A similar bill passed the Legislature last year, but was among a number of bills vetoed because the governor said his attention had been devoted to the state budget crisis and he could only sign bills that were of the highest priority.
This year’s version passed both houses unanimously and takes effect immediately as an urgency measure.
The bill largely adapts existing Civil Discovery Act provisions regarding production of documents to the discovery of electronically stored information.
Among other things, the bill:
•Generally requires that electronically stored information be produced in the form or forms in which it is ordinarily maintained or in a form that is reasonably usable.
•Provides that if a party requests that data be disclosed in a particular form and the opposing party objects, the opposing party must specify the form in which it intends to produce each type of information requested.
•Allows a party to object to production on the ground that the material is not reasonably accessible because of the undue burden or expense. The objecting party must bear the burden of demonstrating the validity of the objection, but even if the burden of production is shown to be great, the court may order discovery on a showing of good cause, with appropriate limitations.
•Applies existing rules on sanctions to electronic discovery, but prohibits imposition of sanctions for failure to provide electronically stored information that has been lost, damaged, altered, or overwritten as the result of the routine, good faith operation of an electronic information system.
Copyright 2009, Metropolitan News Company