Document Destruction Policies Should be Suspended if a Federal Government Investigation Could Occur, By Stephanie L.V. Hendricks


Due to the increasing number of federal government investigations and the broad wording of new, yet uninterpreted, federal law, it is important that, if an organization has any reason to think it might be investigated, the organization suspend its document destruction policy.

Several recent high-profile cases have taught large companies (both public and private) and their lawyers important lessons about document retention, particularly if litigation or a government investigation of any kind is foreseeable. Indeed, had 18 USC § 1519 been enacted when Arthur Andersen was indicted, the reversal of its conviction for obstruction of justice in January 2005 may have been less likely.i That statute had its genesis as part of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act reform.

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DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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