Never mind the budget crisis or handing out IOUs, California has passed its own Electronic Discovery Act. California joins the 30 other states that have decided to include provisions in their rules aimed directly at the discovery of Electronically Stored Information.
The Act amends the California Code of Civil Procedure by expressly permitting discovery of electronically stored information. The goal is to improve discovery measures during litigation and to avoid undue involvement by the court in resolving e-discovery disputes. The Act defines Electronically Stored Information as “information that is stored in an electronic medium” and defines “electronic” as “relating to technology having electrical, digital, magnetic, wireless, optical, electromagnetic, or similar capabilities.”
California’s new e-discovery rules closely parallel the federal version. The Act primarily applies the existing rules in the California Civil Discovery Act to ESI and establishes procedures to request and respond to e-discovery.
California’s Electronic Discovery Act is similar to the Federal Rules. The California act also has Federal Rules safe harbor for the failure to produce Electronically Stored Information. “Absent exceptional circumstances, the court shall not impose sanctions on a party or any attorney of a party for failure to provide electronically stored information that has been lost, damaged, altered, or overwritten as a result of the routine, good faith operation of an electronic information system.” Cal. Code of Civil Procedure 1985.8 (l)
California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger signed the Act on June 29 and it goes into effect immediately.