Thursday, January 15, 2009

Coming up: an e-discovery tsunami?

Earlier today, Computerworld posted an interesting piece speculating that requests for information about the lending practices of failed banks may highlight sloppy records retention policies and practices and propel regulators to crack down on institutions that don't comply fully with Sarbanes-Oxley and other records-related laws and regulations. Among those quoted in the article is Debra Logan of Gartner, who predicts that disgruntled employers and customers will file all manner of lawsuits and that e-discovery and e-recordkeeping issues will come to the fore as a result:
The amount of litigation that's going to be generated out of this Wall Street meltdown is going to be unbelievable. The regulators will be asking the banks what happened . . . . Lawsuits stemming from problems at government-backed mortgage finance companies ' Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae will result in systemic change.
Other experts quoted predict that, in addition to stricter enforcement of existing laws and regulations, lawmakers and regulators might impose even more stringent record-keeping controls upon the financial sector -- and the health care industry, which is moving toward electronic-record keeping despite shortcomings in its records retention practices.

It will be most interesting to see how record-keeping practices evolve as people try to make sense of the chaos that has consumed the financial industry and come to grips with the challenges of electronic medical records. Maybe we will start seeing some real attention paid to records management -- and a diffusion of lessons learned in the financial and health care sectors to other industries and government.


Russell James said...

Very interesting article, especially given that liberals (and Democrats, in general) favor de-regulation. It will be very exciting to see if this happens in the B. Hussein Obama administration.

L'Archivista said...

I seem to recall that the FDIC, SEC, and plenty of other regulatory bodies were products of a Dem administration and met with fierce conservative opposition, and I would argue that Dems in general are less ideologically averse to regulation of the financial industry. Of course, in recent years, we have seen a great bipartisan rush (fueled in no small part by campaign contributions from the financial industry) to overturn Glass-Steagall, etc . . . .