Thursday, September 7, 2023

Information Not Subject To Discovery in Pennsylvania Simply Because It Is Stored Up In The Cloud

In the case of Edenfield v. ECM Energy Services, Inc., No. 999 MDA 2022 (Pa. Super. Aug. 1, 2023 Bowes, J., Lazarus, J., and Stevens, P.J.E.) (Op. by Bowes, J.), the Pennsylvania Superior Court reviewed a notable discovery issue and concluded that, despite the accessibility of electronic records stored by a party on the so-called Cloud, state courts cannot compel companies to documents stored on the Cloud unless those companies have a sufficient link to Pennsylvania.

In this Opinion, the Pennsylvania Superior Court was presented with the question of whether electronic records stored in the Cloud by a company without any established physical location in Pennsylvania, were located within Pennsylvania for purposes of Title 15 solely by virtue of being theoretically accessible from Pennsylvania.

In ruling that the documents did not have to be produced, the Pennsylvania Superior Court upheld a decision out of the Lycoming County Court of Common Pleas in which that court had denied a Petition to Compel Inspection of Corporate Books and Records of an entity. 

The Superior Court noted that to rule otherwise would, for example, permit the courts to compel any business utilizing Quick Books or similar services to have to produce records in Pennsylvania simply because those records were stored in the Cloud and despite the fact that there was no other connection between that company and the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. The court stated that such a result was not contemplated by the law at issue.

Anyone wishing to review a copy of this decision may click this LINK.

Source: Article: “Despite Accessibility, Storing Corporate Records in the Cloud Does not Create Pa. Jurisdiction, Superior Court Rules.” By: Riley Brennan. Pennsylvania Law Weekly (Aug. 2, 2023).

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