The Buzz About AB 5 (aka: Chapter 5, Statutes of 2009)

Index Engines exhibited at LegalTech West in Los Angeles last week. And the buzz on the show floor was largely about Assembly Bill 5 – better known as AB 5. AB 5 is a bill that is sitting on Governor Schwarzenegger’s desk awaiting signature, that takes a much firmer approach surrounding the access to historical data that must be made available to support legal proceedings.

FRCP started the ball rolling by requiring that electronic evidence be made discoverable, unless an undue burden could be claimed. AB 5 takes a much harder line, effectively overrulling Zubulake’s position that data contained by disaster recovery systems was simply inaccessible. AB5, when passed into law, will not let the responsible party object to data discovery simply based on it’s location. Disaster recovery data will now be presumed fair game for discovery. Back up tapes contain the large majority of data stored for disaster recovery. As such, the Index Engines booth at LegalTech was hopping.

Index Engines is the only technology commercially available that allows fast, cost-effective, forensically sound access to files and email stored on backup tapes. Enterprise legal teams and high profile law firms are well aware of the high cost of traditional tape restoration services. These prohibitive costs are what spurred the Zubulake ruling initially. AB 5 will force the issue, tapes will become part of routine eDiscovery, and Index Engines will be there to help. We’re already helping enterprise clients process through their legacy disaster recovery tapes. Our white paper, The Anatomy of Tape, outlines how large scale tape discovery and remediation projects can be made manageable.

Update July 1, 2009: AB 5 – now officially called Chapter 5, Statutes of 2009 – was signed last night. It is now official. See this post on e-Discovery Insights (Perry L. Segal, Esq.) blog. Perry has been closely tracking AB 5.