On January 1, 2011, new rules for the discovery (pretrial exchange of evidence) of electronically stored information went into effect in Wisconsin.
One of the most significant changes is a “meet-and-confer” provision requiring the parties to address issues pertaining to electronically stored information early in the litigation. Back in April 2010, the Wisconsin Judicial Council struggled with this issue, but in the end, a slim (4-3) majority concluded that the mandatory meet-and-confer provision would save time and expedite the litigation.
The discovery of electronically stored information (or e-discovery) is often central to the resolution of an employment claim. Even in garden-variety breach of contract or discrimination claims, you should expect employees to request electronically stored information, including e-mails and policies, to support their claims. The new rules are covered in more detail in the January 2011 issue of Wisconsin Employment Law Letter.