The Impact of Technology in Document Discovery

By Denise Johnson | April 1, 2016

Document production during litigation can be costly and time consuming but evolving technology and effective communication among parties can positively impact the process, according to Daniel Garoutte, director of Knox Services, a California-based company that provides electronic and paper document solutions.

Technology relating to document retention has evolved considerably, Garoutte said.

In an interview with Claims Journal during the Combined Claims Conference held in Orange County, Calif., last month, he explained that in the past paper documents had to be converted to microfiche and then needed to be converted to paper again for discovery purposes.

Since the mid-90’s, most have moved to straight digital discovery. Documents are captured and uploaded and stored via the web or cloud. The documents can then be uploaded into claims systems as needed, he said.

The ability to capture large data complicates efforts during litigation to obtain copies of necessary documents. That’s because so much is being captured that may not be relevant to the case, he said.

“What is acceptable with obtaining metadata and digital information and how you use that digital information,” explained Garoutte. Compliance with the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act and protecting personal data in digital information is of concern, he said.

“I think what we need to stay upfront of more than anything else is the security aspect of digital information,” Garoutte said.

Garoutte also discussed what adjusters and attorneys can do to work together on document production.

Communication is essential, he said, since he often sees incorrect information passed between the two parties which results in efficiencies.

“Ultimately, if they are communicating with each other we’re going to be more effective in getting the correct documents to the right people,” said Garoutte.

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