A large portion of any civil litigation case involves “discovery.” Discovery is the general name given to all of the things that attorneys do to determine the facts and circumstances of the opposing party’s case and to prepare for trial.
The law requires you to maintain all relevant documents and records, including electronic information, such as emails and text messages, related to the lawsuit. You are required to maintain all evidence even if it has not yet been requested by the other side. Not doing so can be considered “spoliation” of evidence. When a Court finds that a party has allowed spoliation of evidence to occur, the results can be quite disastrous, leading to sanctions such as not being able to introduce certain types of evidence, paying monetary penalties, and/or having your case dismissed.
As such, when it appears that you are going to get involved in lawsuit, you should locate all files, documents, and records that relate to the lawsuit. These could include records that are in a “hard-copy” file or electronically stored on a computer, tablet, smart phone, etc. DO NOT DELETE anything. You should make attempts to preserve all documents that bear any relation to this case whatsoever.
It is common to be asked to provide all of your emails and text messages between yourself and anyone else that is a party to your case or has knowledge about the case. Yes, making copies of these documents can be quite time-consuming, so talk to your lawyer about how to do it properly so you don’t have to do it twice.