European data involved in U.S. disputes? Yeah – we’ve been there.
Disclaimer: iDiscovery Solutions (iDS) does not provide legal advice.
iDiscovery Solutions (iDS) was recently engaged to support an investigation related to a dispute in America. This is common for us, but each one of these investigations has challenges that require a nuanced view.
Setting the Scene:
- US persons were claimants/plaintiffs (custodians/data subjects) in a US-based dispute.
- The data relevant to the investigation and the dispute also contained the names of third-party individuals (customers) in a disparate, mixed layout. These third-party data subjects were also American.
- Wrench in the spokes: the data above were hosted in the UK.
These are Americans, surely, we can just send this across.
This is precisely where iDS would recommend chatting to a qualified U.K. lawyer (or relevant European jurisdiction lawyer). Out of an abundance of caution, the client and their legal team took the view that data projection regulations attach to the data subjects in the European jurisdiction. The database information was reviewed and scrubbed (redacted) in the UK prior to transfer to the US.
When the data scrubbed in Europe needs to be referenced later in proceedings:
In some scenarios, the full names or other Personally Identifiable Information (PII) that ultimately are scrubbed, pseudo-anonymised, or redacted need to be referenced later in a dispute. In the most recent case, and in past cases, iDS retains a reference bank of these names and values that do not travel with the data production that goes to the US.
iDS is the intelligent choice for triage.
Our team in Europe is regularly called upon as a point of triage or heavy lifting as it relates to data manipulation or document review prior to data transfer to the US. We leverage technology to draw out likely PII and often deploy our managed review resources to carry out a first-pass substantive PII and/or privilege-type review.
This is all done in the UK or Europe. Subsequent tranches of data are then transferred to the US by a method agreed upon by the client(s), iDS, and the legal team. These approaches may vary, but some clients would rather transfer from their European entities directly to their sibling entities in the US, thus relying on existing data transfer mechanisms. In this scenario, iDS consults and does much of the heavy lifting, and the client simply “sends the parcel.”
Data interrogation with these sorts of controls in place can make an already-unpleasant exercise a bit more frustrating. Trust in iDS –we do this constantly and are here to help.
iDS provides consultative data solutions to corporations and law firms around the world, giving them a decisive advantage – both in and out of the courtroom. Our subject matter experts and data strategists specialize in finding solutions to complex data problems – ensuring data can be leveraged as an asset and not a liability.