Carnegie Mellon University

Upon Receipt of a Litigation Hold

The following steps should be taken to ensure compliance upon receipt of a litigation hold.

  1. Suspend deletion, overwriting, or any other destruction of electronic information that might be relevant to the case.  This includes electronic information wherever it is stored - at your workstation, on a laptop, on a shared file system, in the cloud, or at home. It includes all forms of electronic information - e.g. email, word processing documents, calendar entries, voice messages, videos, photographs, information on PDAs, etc.
  1. Consider creating separate folders for email and files to contain data relevant or potentially relevant to the case.
  1. Check with local IT staff or other computer support staff to ensure that any data stored on servers, or backups of such data, is retained.
  1. If your computer or any other source of potentially relevant data is not being backed up, contact your departmental computing staff or the Information Security Office (ISO) to discuss options to ensure that the data is retained.
  1. Take steps to understand where files and email are being stored. In many cases this can include local computer disk(s), a network file system (DFS or AFS), email servers, cloud services, or other systems. Local IT and ISO staff may be able to help to determine where data is stored.
  1. If a computer is being replaced (e.g. as part of an upgrade cycle) or decommissioned contact local IT staff, the ISO and the Office of General Counsel (OGC) before any actions are taken. A copy of the existing data may need to be preserved prior to the upgrade or decommissioning.
  1. If your email is being migrated to a different mail system, contact ISO and the OGC prior to the migration. A copy of the existing, pre-migration data may need to be preserved.
  1. If possible, consider moving any relevant data to a network file system that is regularly backed up. Centrally or departmentally supported systems are often safer repositories than a local computer.
  1. If relevant data is stored on removable media (CDs, DVDs, external hard drives, etc.) contact ISO and OGC to determine if preservation copies should be made.
  1. Any hard-copy documents under your control that may be relevant to the case should also be preserved.