If you’re at all interested in e-mail discovery, the fabulous Electronic Discovery Blog should be a regular stop. In the realm of civil lawsuits between private litigants, a very detailed picture is emerging of which e-mails people ought to be able to produce in response to subpoenas, at what cost, and with how much trouble. In a nutshell: you should be able to produce e-mails by a keyword search, it doesn’t cost that much, and it’s not that much trouble. And if it turns out that you really do have the records you said you didn’t have, judges get mad about that, and there are often ways to find out.
The ability of ordinary citizens to get electronically stored public records (e-mails, mostly) from their local units of government is quite a bit behind the curve, when compared to the cutting edge of electronic discovery in civil litigation. But valuable lessons are being learned.