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Court Rules on E-discovery Metadata

PASADENA, Calif. -- Guidance Software Inc. (NASDAQ:GUID), the World Leader in Digital Investigations, today issued a legal alert addressing a recent and important published court ruling reaffirming the importance of preserving and maintaining file metadata throughout the eDiscovery process.

In Aguilar v. Immigration & Customs Enforcement Div. of U.S. Dep’t of Homeland Sec.1, a United States District Court issued a definitive ruling providing that the U.S. Federal Rules of Civil Procedure require that metadata associated with emails and electronic files be preserved, maintained and produced in the course of legal discovery, particularly where the requesting party seeks its production in its initial request. This case reaffirms that the preservation of Electronically Stored Information (ESI) including its associated metadata throughout the eDiscovery process is critical, and that a party to litigation faces significant legal risk if they do not collect and maintain digital evidence with technology designed specifically for the task.

As eDiscovery best practices are delineated and ultimately determined by the courts, this case is particularly important as it dispels any uncertainty concerning the legal requirements for metadata preservation. In arriving at its decision, the Aguilar court cited recent case law, as well guidance from the influential Sedona Conference, who recently revised their statement of eDiscovery principles to emphasize the importance of metadata preservation in the course of discovery. The Aguilar court explained that file metadata is important to help establish the authenticity of electronically stored information, to enable accurate and effective search, sorting and analysis of the data, and also because the metadata itself has relevant evidentiary value.

Guidance Software Inc.