Business litigation can be a complex and time-consuming process, and you have to be well-prepared in order to increase your chances of success. There are a few key steps that you can take to prepare for business litigation and protect your interests.
One of the most important is avoiding the spoliation of evidence, or the destruction or loss of any evidence that might be relevant. It’s your duty to preserve that evidence, even when it’s not favorable to your position. Failing to do so can actually be disastrous to your case, depending on the court’s reaction.
It’s always best to have an internal company plan to handle potential litigation and the need to make sure that evidence isn’t compromised before you actually need it. Here are three good ways to start:
1. Keep accurate and complete records
This includes keeping detailed financial records, contracts, correspondence and any other documents related to your business. Accurate record-keeping can be invaluable in a legal dispute, as it can help to establish the facts of the case and provide evidence to support your position. Having a system will also help prevent accidental spoliation.
2. Identify the custodians of information
You can’t collect data that might be needed for litigation until you know where it is and who has it. Make sure that you quickly identify the key players and immediately inform them of the need to preserve all records related to the event or issue in question.
3. Implement a document retention policy
This policy should establish clear guidelines for the retention and destruction of documents, and it should be communicated to all employees. The policy should also establish procedures for the preservation of documents in the event of litigation, including the suspension of routine document destruction (by shredding, deleting or other means).
You can ensure that you are well-prepared for the dispute and are taking all necessary steps to protect your interests by learning more about your legal obligations when you’re faced with the specter of litigation. Advance planning can help you keep such disputes from unnecessarily disrupting your business processes.