If, like us, you frequent e-discovery conferences and CLE programs, you’ve doubtless heard a lot about how newer communication and collaboration tools are leading to an evolution in e-discovery law and practice. While email is still heavily used, it has been joined by, and in some industries displaced by, other methods of electronic interaction. For example, Slack, a messaging application comprised of topic or project-related workspace “channels” used for conversation and for sharing files and information, has replaced email in many companies, notably in newer, high tech companies.
And just as we’re all finally getting comfortable with managing email as the primary source of electronically stored information (ESI) in discovery, courts are now increasingly addressing discovery disputes involving newer technologies like Slack. Here, however, although the technology at issue is new, the nature of the dispute is largely familiar—did a party destroy Slack communications with an intent to avoid production in litigation? In a recent decision, a court was not distracted by the technology at issue as it seamlessly applied traditional e-discovery law in a decision where a high tech company and its founder were accused of spoliation of Slack ESI.