The divorcing spouse was suspected of hiding marital assets & the divorcing spouse’s personal computer may have contained secret financial information. The divorcing spouse had removed this computer from the marital residence in anticipation of the divorce. In this situation, a forensic examination of the divorcing spouse’s computer might help.
If given physical access to this particular computer, a forensic computer expert might find stored information about:
- Personal & Business Finances
- Appointments, Calendars & Contacts
A forensic computer expert could search the computer for active data, archived data and deleted data. This means that a forensic computer expert could collect financial evidence about suspected hidden assets by searching for the names of nominees; bank account numbers; shell companies, etc. Any financial evidence discovered by the expert might eventually be used to impeach the above-mentioned divorcing spouse at a deposition or trial. It could also be provided to private investigators as leads they could research.
Fed. R. Civ. P. 26 (a) (1) (A) (ii) & (b) (2) (B), cover the circumstances electronically stored information may be disclosed/forensically examined during federal litigation. Pursuant to Federal Rule 26, a litigant may also seek the stored information in an opposing party’s digital camera, cell phone, personal digital assistant or global positioning system. Electronically stored information might also sometimes be “material and necessary” under New York law, and therefore disclosed pursuant to N.Y. Civ. Prac. L. & R. § 3101:
“§ 3101. Scope of disclosure. (a) Generally. There shall be full
disclosure of all matter material and necessary in the prosecution or
defense of an action, regardless of the burden of proof, by:
(1) a party, or the officer, director, member, agent or employee of a
In Etzion v. Etzion 2008 NY Slip Op 50475(U) (Nassau Sup. Ct. 2008) however, the Court mentioned N.Y. Civ. Prac. L. & R. § 3101(a), but then denied an ex-wife plaintiff electronic discovery of her ex-husband’s computers. Although the Court denied the ex-wife’s discovery request under the particular facts of Etzion, the Etzion decision provides an example of the kind of computer information a litigant might ideally seek from an opposing party.
Copyright 2008-2019 Fred L. Abrams