Any employer who has faced potential class action wage and hour lawsuits knows what a headache they can be. Due to a recent court ruling, employers have a lot more to worry about. That case, Pippins v. KPMG LLP, has caused tremendous turmoil and confusion among those who follow employment litigation and electronic discovery.
The case is unusual because a judge ordered the defendant, accounting giant KPMG, to preserve a huge number of hard drives while the litigation is ongoing. According to some observers, the financial and logistical costs of simply maintaining all that information will be so expensive that the defendant may need to settle.
The National Chamber Litigation Center (NCLC), the public policy law firm of the US Chamber of Commerce, is one of the groups that weighed in against the court ruling. According to the NCLC, in a “friend of the court” brief, it “urged the US District Court for the Southern District of New York to set aside a magistrate judge’s unprecedented order requiring a defendant in a putative class action to rip out and retain every single hard drive from every computer that any member of the putative class or collective may have used before leaving the company.”
The NCLC’s brief warned “. . . if the magistrate judge’s order is not overturned, the threat of costly preservation and discovery of electronically stored information will give plaintiffs even greater leverage to coerce settlements of even the most frivolous claims.”
As the case continues through the courts, employers need to understand the legal implications of the ruling, how they manage their own data backup policies, and how this could encourage employees and former employees to be even more aggressive about filing lawsuits.
via Pippins v. KPMG | Wage and Hour Lawsuits | National Chamber Litigation Center | NCLC | KPMG | Legal Discovery | Fair Labor Standards Act | Electronically Stored Information of Employees | AccountingWEB.com.