The increasingly high cost of e-discovery in construction litigation and how to avoid it

Miree Le Roy - Wednesday, August 29, 2012

project management software for construction litigation

I recently came across an ENR article about the incredibly high cost of e-discovery companies are facing in the event of litigation. As we move to paperless project management, with the popularity of smart phones and tablets to manage projects, the amount of data each person on a project generates is incredible.  

But what’s more amazing is the cost involved with producing documents and communication from that electronic data, if required by a court in the event of litigation. Lawyers are often involved in the process of sifting through the approximately 50GB of data generated by each person working on a project. And at $200 per hour for the privilege, some companies are paying upwards of $20 000 just on e-discovery costs.

In the US, the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure have been modified to try to cope with the sheer amount of data involved with civil claims and disputes in the AEC industries. However, under e-discovery rules you may still be required to produce documents in the event of litigation, and bear the costs of producing that documentation. You may also not even be part of the litigation, but involved as a third party whose project documents and communications are subpoenaed. 

That is why it’s so important to set your document storage procedures up from the start, and IPM’s project management software has taken this into account. Instead of having a number of different team members all working on the project and storing their information on separate devices or database, IPM has one central database for all project documentation. All documentation in this database is created and categorised against each individual job, so there is no extra unnecessary data to trawl through when producing documents for one particular job.

What’s more, IPM has one of the most sophisticated reporting facilities available in project management software, due to its Microsoft Dynamics framework. Reports can be run quickly and customised according to the information you need, meaning data is easily recoverable from the central database in the event of a dispute or claim.

Email is also one of the most important documents when it comes to litigation, and is often the first thing requested in e-discovery. One of IPM’s main advantages is its integration with Microsoft Outlook, which means its email tracking system is seamlessly linked to the project management platform. Every incoming and outgoing email on a job can be automatically tracked and stored in the central database using a tracking code. IPM is also one of the only project management platforms available that can track emails according to an individual transaction, rather than a whole job. This means that if the litigation relates to a particular change order, you can bring up all the email correspondence relating to that particular change order quickly and easily without having to sift through every other email on the job.

Litigation is sometimes an unavoidable part of the construction process, and in today’s data rich world, producing the necessary documentation required by courts can be an expensive and involved process. However, we believe certain features of IPM can significantly reduce the time spent to recover project documents and communication, and in turn reduce the associated costs. If you’d like to know more about our project management software, please don’t hesitate to contact us.


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