5.10 Litigation Hold

Effective Date: January 1, 2014


Trinity College recognizes that it has an obligation to preserve documents and electronically stored information (ESI) that are relevant to a potential lawsuit or legal claim against the College as soon as it reasonably anticipates that a lawsuit or other legal claim may be brought. Under these circumstances, the College will issue a “Litigation Hold” to appropriate employees to suspend the normal and routine destruction of records. A “Litigation Hold” is an internal directive to cease destruction, whether manual or automated, and preserve all records, regardless of form, related to the subject matter of the hold. Existing and future records that are potentially relevant to the litigation or legal claim must be preserved until the Litigation Hold is lifted.

Failure to comply with a Litigation Hold may expose the College to adverse consequences in the litigation, including monetary sanctions and charges of obstruction of justice, and may expose an employee to disciplinary action up to and including termination.

The purpose of this policy is to set forth the authority and process for initiating, implementing, monitoring, and releasing Litigation Holds.



Any employee of the College who becomes aware of any litigation, threat of litigation, legal action, or an investigation by any administrative, civil or criminal authority, that involves the College, upon service of a summons and complaint or other notice, must immediately notify the Human Resources department. The Human Resources department will consult with legal counsel, and senior staff as appropriate, to determine whether to initiate a Litigation Hold and to identify College personnel subject to the hold.

Human Resources will notify affected employees in writing that a Litigation Hold has been initiated and will inform those employees of their obligation to identify and preserve all records that may be relevant to the Litigation Hold.

Human Resources will notify Information and Technology Services (ITS) of the Litigation Hold and provide the following information including, but not limited to:

Official notification of the Litigation Hold;
Identification of all employees whose electronic accounts must be preserved;
Identification of each person’s status as faculty, staff, student, or retired, if known.

Covered Materials

The College has an obligation to preserve relevant materials, which applies to paper documents, tangible things and ESI.

ESI is broadly defined to include, among other things: (i) e-mail; (ii) metadata, which is information about e-mails or word processing documents (such as, for example, when a document was read or when a document was modified); and (iii) information contained on backup tapes or other storage devices that are capable of restoration, even if the information was deleted previously. ESI may also be found in word processing documents; spreadsheets; presentation documents; on databases including office computers, servers, networks, laptops, and home computers; backup or disaster recovery systems; DVDs; CD-ROMs; hard disks; floppy disks; external drives; jump drives; thumb drives; pin drives; zip drives; personal digital assistants; other hand-held electronic devices; voice message systems; cell phones; Internet usage files; fax transmission logs; and any other media storage device not otherwise listed. E-mails may be found within work e-mail accounts, as well as any personal e-mail accounts that may contain work-related e-mail.

The term “document” is also interpreted broadly to include paper documents, tangible things and ESI. The kinds of documents that Trinity College may have include: agendas, agreements, applications for employment, articles, audio recordings, calendar and diary entries, catalogues, correspondence, data sheets, diagrams, drafts or preliminary revisions of all of the above, e-mail, employment contracts, facsimiles, financial statements, forms, graphs, interoffice or intraoffice communications, letters, lists, memoranda, minutes, notes, notes of meeting or any other type of communication, periodicals, phone records, photographs, presentation materials, promotional materials, recommendations, references, reports, reproductions, schematics, scholarly papers, sketches, slideshows, spreadsheets, studies, summaries, tabulations, transcripts, video or digital recordings, videotapes, voice-mail, work logs, working papers, worksheets, writings, and any other written, printed, typed or other graphic or computerized material of any nature, no matter how produced or how reproduced, translated if necessary by the responding party through detection devices into reasonably usable form.

Required Actions

Upon receipt of a Litigation Hold, an employee must do the following, with the assistance of ITS personnel:

Identify all material (paper documents and ESI) to be preserved, based on the subject matter of the litigation.
Immediately suspend activities that alter, update, move, delete or destroy any of this material or inadvertently allow it to be disposed of, lost, or destroyed as part of a routine document purging system.
Follow instructions provided in the Litigation Hold with regard to collection of paper documents and ESI, including moving any responsive e-mails, Word documents or other electronically stored information from e-mail inboxes, sent items, deleted items, calendars, cell phones, or voice-mail systems to a personal folder so that they are not inadvertently subject to automatic deletion.
Preserve any new electronic information that is generated after receipt of the Litigation Hold that is relevant to the subject of the hold. This should be done by creating separate mailboxes and files and segregating all future electronically-stored information in these separate mailboxes and files.
If affected employees use their personal computers, cell phones or PDAs for College-related business (including e-mail on their College e-mail accounts or on personal accounts such as AOL, Yahoo Mail, gMail, etc.), they must preserve responsive data on those computers and devices.


Human Resources, in conjunction with legal counsel, The Office of Legal Affairs will determine and communicate in writing to affected employees when a Litigation Hold may be lifted and materials need no longer be preserved.