Litigation Hold Policy
There are circumstances where the normal and routine destruction of records must be suspended according to Federal and State requirements and College record retention and disposition schedules. Present and future records that are involved in litigation, or reasonably anticipated in foreseeable legal action, must be preserved until the legal hold is released by the Vice President of Finance and Administration.
The purpose of this document is to set forth the authority and process for initiating, implementing, monitoring, and releasing legal holds.
This policy and procedures applies to all College employees and covers all records, regardless of form, made or received in conducting College business.
3. Definitions and Authority
"Affected College Employee" means all College personnel, including Department Heads or Directors, who are in possession or control of evidence, which is the subject of a legal hold.
A "legal hold" is an order to cease destruction and preserve all records, regardless of form, related to the nature or subject of the legal hold.
"Evidence" includes all records, whether in electronic or paper form, created, received, or maintained in conducting College business, whether at home or work. Such evidence may include, but is not limited to, paper records and electronic records stored on servers, desktop or laptop hard drives, tapes, flash drives, memory sticks, or CD-ROMs.
"Electronic records" includes all forms of electronic communications, including, but not limited to, e-mail, word processing documents, calendars, spreadsheets, voice messages, videos, photographs, text messages, or information stored on mobile devices.
"College employee" includes all employees, whether permanent, temporary, full-time or part-time, faculty, and student employees.
“ediscovery” refers to any process in which electronic data is sought, located, secured, and searched with the intent of using it as evidence in a civil or criminal legal case.
The authority to place a legal hold is vested in the Vice President of Finance and Administration.
A college employee must not destroy or modify any records, whether print, microform, or digital, involved in, or that might reasonably be expected to be involved in, litigation, claim, negotiation, audit, open records request, administrative review or other action involving the records. All reasonable steps should be taken to preserve records so as not to preempt a litigant’s right to compel production of records. Employees must maintain the records until the actions requiring the records have been resolved.
Pursuant to the Federal Rules for Civil Procedure (December 1, 2006), standard practice in organizations is that employees must retain records, including digital records, if litigation occurs or there is a reasonable expectation that the organization will be involved in litigation (or other activities where records may be required, e.g., EEO complaints, etc.) Courts have presumed that if an organization’s records are unavailable, they contain information supportive of a claim against the organization. When litigation is expected, the college may issue a “litigation hold” on records to ensure that records are not inadvertently or intentionally destroyed or modified.
6.1 Compliance Measurement
Information Services will verify compliance to this policy through various methods, including but not limited to, periodic walkthroughs, application tools reports, internal and external audits, and feedback.
Any exception to the policy must be approved by the VP for Finance and Administration.
Non-compliance of this policy and procedures, may result in disciplinary action, following the usual disciplinary processes of the College for faculty and staff. The Vice President of Finance and Administration will determine whether to initiate the disciplinary process.
7. Release of a Legal Hold
The Vice President of Finance and Administration will determine and communicate to affected College employees when a legal hold is lifted and evidence no longer preserved. Connecticut College is required to preserve data of an individual starting on the date of a litigation hold, but not required to preserve data we may have collected from a prior litigation hold on that individual. Materials, such as computer hard drives, that are released can be reused after they have been erased.
The Vice President of Finance and Administration determines whether to initiate a legal hold and identify College personnel subject to the hold.
The Vice President of Finance and Administration will notify affected College personnel that a legal hold has been initiated. The notice will inform affected personnel of their obligation to identify and preserve all evidence that may be relevant to the legal hold.
Any College employee subject to a legal hold should consult the IT Service Desk, or submit a WebHelpDesk ticket, for assistance in securing and preserving their records.
The Vice President of Finance and Administration will notify Information Services of a legal hold and provide the following information including, but not limited to:
Official notification of the legal hold;
Identify all affected College personnel whose electronic accounts must be preserved, including user names, if known;
Identify each person's status as faculty, staff, student, or retired, if known;
Provide department affiliation for each person, if known.
Information Services must acknowledge receipt, understanding, and compliance with the legal hold without undue delay by e-mail and memorandum to the Vice President of Finance and Administration.
Once notice of a legal hold has been issued, the Vice President of Finance and Administration will continue to monitor compliance with this policy and any notice.
Information Services will utilize a backup application, such as Crashplan, to secure electronic records stored on College-owned computers used by staff and faculty. Copies of network shares mapped to the user’s computer will be backed-up to a College-maintained archiving system. Any hard drives removed from College-owned computers will be stored in a secure location maintained by the IS Security Office. College employees identified in the Litigation Hold will be have a complete computer backup as of the LH effective date, stored in Crashplan under a separate profile.
Employee Terminations. In the event an employee leaves the college, Information Services validates and verifies the Litigation Hold backup is complete and preserved. This is done prior to wiping and re-issue of the computer. Files not backed up should be identified from the local computer logs and documented.
Employee Transfers. In the event a person in Litigation Hold transfers to another department within the college, the computer stays with the old department. The employee’s new computer will be established with the Litigation Hold profile, preserving all data covered by the Litigation Hold. The old computer will be wiped and re-issued.
New Computer. In the event an employee’s computer is identified for normal replacement Information Services validates and verifies the Litigation Hold backup is complete and preserved. This is done prior to wiping the replaced computer. Files not backed up should be identified from the local computer logs and documented. The employee’s new computer will be established with the Litigation Hold profile.
Email accounts for the college employees identified in the Litigation Hold will be preserved in Google Vault as soon as practical after the date of notification of the Litigation Hold.
Information Services Litigation Hold Backup Procedures
This policy and process is effective July 1, 2017 .