- IRT Division
- Vice President & Chief Information Officer
AIRC Rm 3010 (map)
Tools & Resources
- For Students & Staff
- Security Services
- Training & Awareness
- Security News
Policy & Standards
Litigation Hold Overview
The law has long required all parties to preserve evidence that may be relevant to a dispute, even before a lawsuit is filed. Because much communication is now electronic, the courts have adapted the requirement to preserve evidence specifically to apply to electronic information. The courts have also ruled that the doctrine of “litigation holds” applies equally to electronic and hard copy information.
The courts require a party to preserve evidence – i.e., implement a litigation hold on information likely to become relevant in a dispute -- in the following circumstances:
When a demand to preserve evidence is received, whether litigation is filed or not
When litigation is served
When a court issues a preservation order
When litigation is “reasonably foreseeable”
The last situation is the most challenging, as there is no bright line, and the determination of whether to implement a hold requires the exercise of judgment. Disputes do not always result in litigation. There is a duty to preserve evidence only when the problem is not likely to be independently resolved. The following list illustrates situations where litigation may be reasonably foreseeable. Each situation must be evaluated on a case-by-case basis:
Where there is a major accident or injury
When a police report is filed
When a claim is filed with a government agency
When a third party seeks indemnification
When an employee is terminated
When an independent investigation corroborates a claim
When there are multiple claims about the same set of circumstances
When a whistleblower or whistleblower retaliation claim is filed
When a claimant threatens litigation
When CSU plans to file suit
When a litigation hold is required, the destruction of documents and information under a document retention schedule must be suspended. The value, nature or scope of the dispute is irrelevant to the requirement of a litigation hold.
How to Decide Whether to Implement a Litigation Hold
Sacramento State has a decision-making process to determine whether litigation is reasonably foreseeable. University Counsel are available to assist, but the ultimate decision should be made by campus personnel. It is best to document the outcome of every decision, particularly those where a decision is reached not to implement a litigation hold.
Information Resources and Technology | Sacramento State | 6000 J St | Sacramento, CA, 95819-6065 | AIRC Building | 916.278.7337
If you have difficulty accessing content on this page, please contact the webmaster.