Everyone is talking about defensible deletion, but is anyone actually doing it? That is the question posed by Barry Murphy in his eDiscovery Journal article Defensible Deletion Gaining Steam.
The expression “defensible deletion” derives, of course, from the siege mentality adopted by US companies and their lawyers as a result of cases where the absence of required documents has led to sanctions – an attitude apparently divorced entirely from the circumstances giving rise to such sanctions in reported cases.
The concept is relevant in more rational jurisdictions – you do not need the fear of sanctions, misplaced or not, to appreciate the costs of keeping large volumes of data. Storage and other physical implications are only the start of it – everything which you have kept is potentially discoverable and must be processed and reviewed multiple times before, often, being discarded as irrelevant. The word “defensible” implies the application of rational thought to the destruction of documents, together with a process which will stand scrutiny.
Barry Murphy’s article suggests that we may at last be seeing such rational thought challenging the knee-jerk “keep it all” mentality.