The Federal Rules of Civil Procedure govern the procedural workings of cases filed in the federal courts of the United States. One area covered by the Federal Rules is “discovery”: the process in which parties in litigation seek and exchange information relevant to the case. While the Federal Rules have always governed electronic discovery, the Rules were dramatically amended in 2006 to specifically address issues surrounding electronically stored information (“ESI”), and case law addressing those rule changes over the last few years has done much to form the current e-discovery landscape. To begin to gain an understanding of and appreciation for e-discovery in U.S. litigation, a primer of the 2006 amendments to the Federal Rules and the significant cases interrupting the amendments is required. The following provides a brief synopsis of key Federal Rules followed by a short summary of recent landmark cases that have addressed that Rule. We begin, however, in the place that all litigants, or potential litigants, first find themselves: the preservation of documents.
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