Technology and Litigation

Embracing eDiscovery: How Technology is Changing Litigations

In the heart of the Deep South, where tradition often meets innovation, Alabama is rapidly adapting to the digital age, and the legal sector is no exception. Technology, especially in the form of eDiscovery, is transforming litigation across the state. You should consult with an experienced attorney to learn more about how eDiscovery can impact your trial. 

What is eDiscovery?

Electronic discovery, or eDiscovery, refers to the process of identifying, collecting, and managing electronically stored information (ESI) for use in legal proceedings. ESI includes a wide range of digital content, such as emails, documents, databases, social media posts, and more. Instead of sifting through mountains of paper documents, lawyers and other legal professionals can now use software and advanced search algorithms to quickly find relevant information in electronic form.

The Impact of eDiscovery on Litigation

  • Efficiency and Cost Savings: Traditional document review and discovery processes were time-consuming and expensive. With eDiscovery tools, legal teams can process and review vast amounts of data more efficiently, leading to significant cost savings for clients.
  • Accuracy and Thoroughness: eDiscovery software can perform keyword searches, concept searches, and predictive coding to identify relevant documents. This enhances the accuracy and thoroughness of the discovery process, reducing the risk of missing essential evidence.
  • Faster Case Resolution: eDiscovery accelerates the litigation timeline by expediting document review and analysis. Lawyers can access information quickly, enabling them to make informed decisions and negotiate settlements more effectively.
  • Global Accessibility: The digital nature of eDiscovery means that legal teams can collaborate and access case-related documents from anywhere in the world. This accessibility is particularly valuable in cases with international components.
  • Predictive Analytics: Artificial intelligence and machine learning technologies are used in eDiscovery to predict the relevance of documents. This enables attorneys to give priority to documents for review and can significantly reduce the volume of irrelevant materials.
  • Compliance with Regulations: eDiscovery tools help legal teams comply with legal and regulatory requirements, ensuring that all necessary documents are identified and produced in accordance with the law.

Challenges Associated With eDiscovery

Electronic discovery, or eDiscovery, has revolutionized the way litigation is conducted, making the process more efficient and accessible. Based on this, it also comes with its fair share of challenges. You may want to consider retaining the services of an experienced lawyer to effectively work through the process. Here are some of the key challenges of eDiscovery in litigation:

  • Volume of Data: The sheer volume of electronically stored information (ESI) can be overwhelming. Emails, documents, social media posts, and other digital data can accumulate rapidly, making it challenging to identify and review relevant information efficiently. Your attorney may be able to use sophisticated software for sifting through the data.
  • Data Complexity: ESI can be highly complex. It may include various file formats, metadata, and structured and unstructured data. Understanding and effectively managing this complexity is important for eDiscovery.
  • Data Preservation: Parties involved in litigation have a legal obligation to preserve potentially relevant ESI. Failure to do so can result in sanctions. It can be difficult for you to determine what data to preserve and ensure its integrity over time. A seasoned attorney can help you.
  • Data Privacy and Security: Protecting sensitive and confidential data during the eDiscovery process is vital. Unauthorized access, data breaches, and privacy violations can have severe legal and reputational consequences.
  • Costs: While eDiscovery can lead to cost savings in the long run, the initial costs of acquiring and implementing eDiscovery tools and services can be substantial. Moreover, the costs associated with reviewing and producing large volumes of data can still be significant.
  • Data Collection Challenges: Gathering ESI from various sources, including cloud storage, mobile devices, and social media platforms, can be complicated. An attorney can help you ensure the completeness and accuracy of collected data.
  • Search and Review: Effectively searching and reviewing large volumes of data for relevance and privilege can be time-consuming. The risk of missing important documents or inadvertently disclosing privileged information is possible.
  • Data Transfer and Sharing: Securely sharing data with opposing parties or third parties while maintaining confidentiality can be a delicate process. You can have your attorney establish protocols and protections for data transfer.

Role of an Attorney in Mitigating Challenges Associated With eDiscovery

Attorneys can develop comprehensive eDiscovery strategies personalized to the specific needs of the case. This includes identifying key sources of ESI, determining data preservation requirements, and establishing efficient workflows. Knowledgeable attorneys can conduct early case assessments that allow them to evaluate the volume and complexity of ESI involved. This assessment helps in setting realistic expectations and budgeting for the eDiscovery process.

Attorneys can also guide you in implementing robust legal hold procedures to ensure the preservation of relevant data. Many reputable law firms work with eDiscovery experts to create data maps that identify the location of ESI. They oversee the collection of data from various sources, ensuring the completeness and accuracy of the process.

Your attorney will also play a pivotal role in negotiating eDiscovery protocols and cooperating with opposing parties. They will seek to reach agreements that streamline the exchange of information and minimize disputes. When necessary, your attorney will also collaborate with experts who possess specialized knowledge in data processing, analytics, and technology to ensure the best tools and practices are employed.

Get a Competent and Resourceful Attorney on Your Side

The experienced attorneys at BHM Law Group are proficient in seamlessly integrating technology into the litigation process, delivering efficient, affordable, and compliant legal solutions. Our lawyers will create a personalized strategy that matches your case’s unique needs and objectives. To set up your consultation, call (205) 994-0902 or reach us online

another company stealing your employee from you

Is It Legal for Another Business to Steal Your Employee?

Alabama’s local economy depends to a large extent on its dynamic and fluid workforce. With the growing shortages of labor, the competition for top talent has become fierce. Proven high-performance employees are getting a lot of attractive offers from different competitors. This gives rise to a critical question of our times – is employee poaching legal?

The simple answer is that while there is no single law preventing employees from seeking lucrative opportunities, it is not entirely legal under certain circumstances. An experienced business law attorney in Alabama can help you assess your legal standing and determine whether your competitor was illegal in their approach to stealing your employees.

Non-Compete Agreements and Employee Raiding

The most clear-cut basis for potential liability is in the form of tortious interference when a competitor hires talent away from another company. Statutes governing employee non-compete agreements in Alabama were revamped in 2016. A new non-compete and non-solicitation statute was passed which repealed § 8-1-1 of the Alabama Code.

The New Act is not entirely clear on the subject of employee poaching but offers to regulate agreements that prevent the solicitation of a rival’s employees. Such agreements used to be considered partial restrictions of trade. Since 2016, non-solicitation agreements can be enforced to prevent the solicitation of any current employee by a departing employee if they hold a uniquely essential position to the management.

However, it is important to understand that the New Act has essentially left this as a gray area that is open to interpretation by the courts. Even where there is an absence of restrictive covenants in the form of non-compete agreements, the hiring company may face potential liability for raiding or poaching.

Claim for Misappropriation of Trade Secrets and Unfair Competition

Even without a non-compete agreement, the hiring competitor can always become a target for a misappropriation of trade secrets claim. These claims are governed under the Alabama Deceptive Trade Practices Act. Alabama statute section 8-19-1 provides for statutes governing unfair or deceptive trade practices.

There is also the potential exposure to unfair competition. The viability of such claims hinges on the numbers. For instance, you may not have a claim if the company hired one or two employees, but you may have a problem if the firm hired a large number of workers.

There is minimal exposure in 1 – 2 employees and you may not be able to prove unfair competition without the existence of trade secrets and non-compete agreements. However, in the case of a large exposure, the hiring company’s actions can be termed as unfair competition, even without trade secrets and non-compete agreements.

The Alabama Deceptive Trade Practices Act is a powerful weapon and can be difficult to defend against. A practice is termed unfair if it is unethical, immoral, unscrupulous, oppressive, or substantially injurious to consumers.

Potential Exposure for Tortious Interference

Employee poaching or raiding can become an issue for liability to the hiring company. Tortious interference is the most clear-cut theory of liability, especially in the case of employees that are subject to restrictive covenants. The company can be deemed to have tortuously interfered with:

  • The employee contract
  • Your customer relationships

The notion that the rival company tortiously interfered with your customer relationships arises from the fact that the employee they poached had access to a sensitive customer database. This can be proved to be in violation of the non-solicitation or non-compete agreement.

No-Poaching Agreements

Typically, a no-poaching agreement is a contract between an employee and employer that the employee is barred from hiring other employees for a particular period of time in the event the employee leaves their employment with the employer. These agreements are referred to as non-solicitation agreements or no-poaching agreements.

A variant of the agreements can exist between two businesses as well. A business bringing in an outside consultant for a particular project may agree to not directly hire the firm’s employees.

Federal Prosecution for Illegal Employee Raiding

The Fair Trade Commission Act prohibits “unfair or deceptive trade practices” and “unfair methods of competition.” 15 U.S.C. § 45(a)(1). The Sherman Antitrust Act prohibits any contract in “restraint of trade or commerce.” 15 U.S.C. § 1. The FTC and the DOJ are authorized to enforce these antitrust laws on a federal level.

In addition, the Supreme Court has held that any violation of the Sherman Act will be deemed as an automatic violation of the Fair Trade Commission Act. This means that the FTC can pursue those businesses that engage in unfair behavior which can seem to violate the Sherman Act and other trade practices.

It is important to note that Sherman Act violations can result in civil actions as well as criminal prosecutions. The FTC has the power to refer Sherman Act violations to the DOJ. Private plaintiffs injured by the antitrust violations are allowed to bring civil actions for compensation and damages.

Get Legal Representation from a Reputable Alabama Business Law Attorney

The employment law attorneys at Birmingham Law Group can review and bolster your contracts to ensure they offer maximum flexibility and protection to your organization. We realize the time and resources spent on building a team and we will provide the strong legal guidance necessary to ensure you get the favorable resolution you are looking for.

Schedule your free case review with our lawyers today. Call us at (205) 964-9764 or contact us online.


workplace discrimination attorneys in Birmingham, Alabama

Common Types of Workplace Discrimination

Discrimination by employers against certain employees at the workplace based on their race, gender, national origin, religion, age, or marital status is a violation of the law. These types of discrimination are not legally permissible during the hiring process as well.

Discriminatory practices can infiltrate every aspect of employment. Instances may include paying differently to equally qualified employees or discriminating while offering a promotion. Such practices can create a hostile work environment. Keep reading to learn more about the common types of workplace discrimination.

Types of Discrimination at Alabama Workplaces

These are five common types of workplace discrimination:

  1. Illegal retaliation

According to a report by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, retaliation against illegal forms of discrimination is the most commonly cited complaint. Retaliation occurs when an employee experiences tangible consequences of demanding their right to make a formal complaint. Retaliation falling into this category includes termination, demotions, cuts in pay, and cuts in hours.

  1. Racial discrimination

There are certain instances of racial discrimination that are more obvious than others. For instance, being fired, demoted, denied equal treatment, denied a fair salary, refused employee benefits or training, or harassed for racial reasons. There are certain instances in which random comments, seemingly harmless statements, or criticism may have an underlying meaning that has a discriminatory shade to it. This is easier to prove if there is a pattern to the behavior.

  1. Gender discrimination

Gender or sex discrimination happens when a job applicant or an employee is treated differently because of their gender. There are several issues covered under the gender discrimination law. This includes equal pay issues, sexual harassment, career development limitations based on gender, stalled promotion, marital status discrimination, pregnancy discrimination, parental status discrimination, gender expression, and gender identity.

  1. Disability discrimination

This type of workplace discrimination can take several forms. It may include comments made about the disability, failing to promote, offering less favorable working conditions, termination, laying off the employee, or disciplinary proceedings. The disability discrimination in certain cases may be a failure to accommodate the discrimination based on not providing or discussing alternatives to allow the disabled employee to better perform their job duties.

The Americans with Disabilities Act, at the minimum, requires all employers to discuss proposed reasonable accommodations with employees that have disabilities to make their life easier at the workplace.

  1. Age discrimination

Employers may discriminate against older workers with harsh comments or by placing pressure on them to retire from their positions. They may talk about needing a ‘youthful or energetic’ workforce. The employer may also refuse to hire a qualified candidate as well based on their age.

In the US, employees above the age of 40 are protected by the federal Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967 (ADEA) against age discrimination. The ADEA was amended by the Older Workers Benefit Protection Act (OWBPA) in 1990 to give more protections to an older workforce.

You have the right to be heard if you are suffering undue harassment or discrimination at work. You should not be a victim of retaliation at the workplace. Get in touch with a reputable employment attorney today to discuss your legal options.

Employment Attorneys Can Help with Workplace Discrimination

You have the right to file a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) if you believe you have suffered discrimination at your workplace. Correlating with this, there are strict deadlines for filing a discrimination charge. Including irrelevant details will only bloat the claim and confuse the authorities. An attorney can help you file the claim and include only those details that support it.

They will also ensure the discrimination claim is filed in a timely and accurate manner. You may be entitled to a settlement if the EEOC states that discrimination occurred. This may include reinstatement, obtaining past and future earnings, compensatory damages, promotion, and other remedies. In Alabama, anti-discrimination laws are based on federal statutes with limited causes of action from common and state laws.

You need to file a signed written charge or complaint of discrimination to make a claim under the federal statutes. This needs to be filed with the relevant administrative agency of the government.

In general, if the discrimination you have experienced is a violation of Title VII, the ADEA, or the ADA, you get 180 days to file your complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. This is from the date the discrimination took place.

You would need to file a claim with the National Labor Relations Board if it is owing to union activity. This should be done within 6 months of the action following union activity.

Contact an Experienced Alabama Employment Law Attorney Today

The legal team at BHM Law Group believes that all people should be treated justly and fairly in the workplace. Our attorneys are here to fight for your rights if you believe you are a victim of workplace discrimination. We will help you understand your legal options during a free case evaluation. Call us at (205) 994-0902 or reach us online to book an appointment with us.