Delta Airlines Learns the Importance of Proper ESI Collection

Many organizations have ignored legacy backup tapes and not included them in their records and information governance strategies. Tapes have been out of sight out of mind, often stored in offsite storage vaults like Iron Mountain or Recall, or stuffed away in file cabinets and IT storage rooms. Delta Airlines recently learned a lesson when they failed to make a reasonable inquiry into the completeness of its discovery responses as it had certified pursuant to FRCP 26(g). In the case Delta/Airtran Baggage Fee Antitrust Litigation, 2012 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 13462 (N.D. Ga. February 3, 2012) the court indicated that Delta should have done a better job making sure that the IT department followed its instructions and produced the correct documents from hard drives and backup tapes. Delta originally produced 103,000 pages of documents in support of litigation. In a similar investigation by the Department of Justice Delta produced an additional 60,000 pages of documents from backup tapes and hard drives that were not previously included in the discovery process. Judge Timothy C. Batten, Sr., of the District Court for the Northern District of Georgia, imposed discovery sanctions against Delta Air Lines for failure to disclose documents contained in backup tapes and hard drives that had been inadvertently overlooked by Delta’s counsel and IT personnel.

Organizations need to incorporate all sources of user data, and proactively manage this content according to policy. This will avoid fines and sanctions down the road. Many organizations have “mystery tapes” lying around and are unaware of the content. Index Engines popular “mystery tape” cloud service shows how easily and economically companies can learn what is contained on these tapes and incorporate this content into their ongoing legal and compliance policies. Learn what is on your “Mystery Tapes”.

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