Civil Litigation Attorney Services
Better Verdicts and Settlements
Compelling Information to assist your client
Challenge evidence presented by the opposing party
Elimination of hearsay
Provide concrete evidence
Preserve critical information
Interpret digital metadata – provide context and meaning to data
A Bonanza of Digital Data
Ninety percent of American adults own a cell phone. Sixty-four percent own a “smartphone.” One study of consumer behavior reports that 85 percent of people say “mobile devices are a central part of their everyday life,” with consumers revealing they spend on average 3.3 hours per day using a mobile device. According to another poll, “nearly three-quarters of smartphone users report being within five feet of their phones most of the time, with 12 percent admitting that they even use their phones in the shower.” Americans use smartphones for text messages, internet use, voice/video calls, emails, social networking sites, video, and music, with usage patterns differing somewhat by age.
Forty-two percent of American adults own a tablet computer such as an iPad or Android-based tablet.
Through the use of all digital devices in the world, humans create more than 2.5 quintillion (18 zeros) bytes of data every day. This includes roughly 145 billion email messages. Ninety percent of the data in the world today was created in the last two years. Much of the burgeoning digital data is stored on mobile devices or can be accessed remotely by them.
The ability of a smartphone to broadcast its location, and inferentially the location of its owner, is of great interest to prosecutors and regularly used to build a case against a criminal defendant, including defeating an alibi defense. But location-revealing operations of smartphones can have significant consequences in civil litigation as well. A competent lawyer needs to recognize the potential treasure trove of relevant information that mobile digital devices contain and take steps to specifically request the discovery of mobile devices and preserve the digital information stored on them. Early requests for such information—and directives to preserve such evidence—are essential given the risk of files being overwritten or deleted, or altered by the regular operation of the device (as discussed below), not to mention the chance that users will upgrade their device to catch the latest technology improvements with the result that the old phone goes back to the carrier and is wiped clean or destroyed.
Special Considerations for Smartphones and Tablets in the Workplace
In addition to the widespread personal ownership of mobile digital devices, many employers provide cell phones and tablets to their employees. Some employees purchase the device through their employer and use that personally-owned device on the employer’s network. An increasingly more common way of managing workplace communications is to have employees bring their own digital devices to work—with more and more companies establishing bring your own device (“BYOD”) policies that specify what workers need to do to connect their personal devices to the employer’s network, no matter where the devices were purchased. With decreasing frequency, employers will provide their employees’ mobile devices that remain the company’s property and must be returned to the company when the employment ends.
No matter who owns the digital device, the employer has the right to establish a condition of employment that any communication by the employee on the employer’s network is not private. But that condition of employment must be unambiguous and evenly applied to be enforceable.
How Mobile Device Information Can Assist Your Case
Mobile devices (smartphones and tablets) have become an integral part of peoples’ lives and can play an important role in litigation. Coupled with the frequent use of personal devices at work (including through BYOD policies), these compact handheld devices often contain a large volume of potentially relevant business and personal information, including call and calendar items, memos, address books, passwords, and credit card numbers.
The value of a forensic examination typically lies in its ability to recreate what a user was doing on a digital device for the weeks or months leading up to a particular event. That “event” in civil litigation could be the termination or separation of an employee from a company (including evidence of harassing conduct in a discrimination lawsuit), departures of key employees to a competitor (with claims of trade secret misappropriation), receipt of a subpoena or other government regulatory inquiry, or the filing of a lawsuit or other administrative proceeding. Given how regularly people use their digital devices, they inevitably leave electronic trails.
Our Services Include:
- Digital Forensics – our digital forensics examiners are among some of the top experts in the field. We follow proper evidence handling procedures, conduct examinations using various tools to corroborate findings, and provide clear reports to describe even the most complicated technical matters.