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The enactment of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure (FRCP) on Dec. 1, 2006 has been the catalyst for renewed emphasis on document retention. Of course, so have the post-Katrina multi-million dollar lawsuits that, in part, have become costly — both in terms of embarrassment as well as money — because of improperly stored documents. The renewed zest in retention practices can also be attributed to the Enron debacle; the Arthur Andersen trial (beware the perils of document destruction); and the inception of acts such as the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996, the Sarbanes/Oxley Act of 2002, and the Gramm Leach Bliley Act (GLBA) of 1999.

It is evident that the FRCP guidelines will influence civil trials for years to come. They have already started trickling down to the states, affecting many civil cases. In the same way, insurance brokerage houses and risk managers are following the lead of major insurers by establishing their own ways of managing documents.

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