Electronically stored information (Federal Rules of Civil Procedure)

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Electronically stored information (ESI), for the purpose of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure (FRCP) is information created, manipulated, communicated, stored, and best utilized in digital form, requiring the use of computer hardware and software.[1]

ESI has become a legally defined phrase as the U.S. government determined for the purposes of the FRCP rules of 2006 that promulgating procedures for maintenance and discovery for electronically stored information was necessary. References to “electronically stored information” in the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure (FRCP) invoke an expansive approach to what may be discovered during the fact-finding stage of civil litigation.[2]

Rule 34(a) enables a party in a civil lawsuit to request another party to produce and permit the requesting party or its representative to inspect, copy, test, or sample the following items in the responding party's possession, custody, or control:

any designated documents or electronically stored information—including writings, drawings, graphs, charts, photographs, sound recordings, images, and other data or data compilations—stored in any medium from which information can be obtained either directly or, if necessary, after translation by the responding party into a reasonably usable form...Rule 34(a)(1) is intended to be broad enough to cover all current types of computer-based information, and flexible enough to encompass future changes and developments.


Native files[edit]

The term native files refers to user-created documents, which could be in Microsoft Office or OpenDocument file formats as well as other files stored on computer, but could include video surveillance footage saved on a computer hard drive, computer-aided design files such as blueprints or maps, digital photographs, scanned images, archive files, e-mail, and digital audio files, among other data.

Logical data[edit]

A judge ruled that RAM is reasonably accessible and retainable for anticipation of litigation.[citation needed]

Since 1996, Australia has permitted RAM to be used in litigation.[citation needed]


  1. ^ Electronically Stored Information: The December 2006 Amendments to the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure Archived 2012-03-21 at the Wayback Machine, Kenneth J. Withers, Northwestern Journal of Technology and Intellectual Property, Vol.4 (2), 171
  2. ^ "Federal Rules of Civil Procedure (FRCP)". Legal Information Institute [LII]. Cornell University Law School. 30 November 2011. Retrieved October 31, 2015.

Further reading[edit]

  • George L. Paul; Bruce H. Nearon (2006). "Meet the New Rules". The Discovery Revolution. American Bar Association. ISBN 9781590316054.
  • Ronald J. Hedges (2007). Discovery of Electronically Stored Information. BNA Books. ISBN 9781570186721.
  • Jonathan M. Redgrave (2007). The Sedona Principles 2007: Best Practices Recommendations & Principles for Addressing Electronic Document Production. BNA Books. ISBN 9781570186776.
  • Albert J. Marcella; Albert J. Marcella Jr.; Doug Menendez (2007). "Electronically stored information and cyber forensics". Cyber Forensics. CRC Press. ISBN 9780849383281.
  • Marian K. Riedy; Suman Beros; Kim Sperduto (2007). Litigating With Electronically Stored Information. Artech House Telecommunications Library. ISBN 9781596932203.