Success in construction litigation often turns less on counsel’s ability to craft legal arguments and more on counsel’s ability to gather, master and present the often complex set of facts underlying the case. In construction matters, most of the key facts are found in documents: contract documents, drawings, plans and specifications, schedules, submittals, progress reports, daily logs, change orders, invoices and payment records. Nowadays, these documents will almost certainly be created, exchanged and stored electronically; many will never exist in hard copy. As such, timely collection, organization and analysis of electronically stored information (ESI) is crucially important in construction litigation.
The construction industry has always involved a large quantity of records. Today, the majority of those records exist only as ESI: Design professionals use computer-aided design (CAD) software to create construction plans. Construction managers use Primavera or similar software to create schedules and workflows. Estimators use job cost control programs. Innovative firms capture digital photos of the project, from mobilization through the punch process.
Because ESI is created and exchanged at a higher rate than hard-copy documents, ESI has facilitated a dramatic increase in the volume of records associated with construction projects. Further compounding the increase is the proliferation of mobile devices. With a smartphone in every pocket, ESI creation has moved out of the home office and the site trailer and onto the site itself. As the volume of ESI expands, so too does the time and expense associated with storing, processing, reviewing and producing these records. This article will cover strategies for balancing time and expense with the requirements of the rules and the needs of the case.
Reprinted courtesy of Pepper Hamilton LLP attorneys Robert A. Gallagher, Jane Fox Lehman and Michael I. Frankel
Mr. Gallagher may be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org
Ms. Lehman may be contacted at email@example.com
Mr. Frankel may be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org