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Litigation Hold - T​o ensure preservation of potentially relevant information in the possession, custody, or control of NIH stakeholders.


Litigation Hold


The NIH Litigation Hold Program is managed within the Information Management Branch, (IMB), Division of Compliance Management (DCM), Office of Management Assessment (OMA), Office of Management (OM), Office of the Director (OD), National Institutes of Health (NIH), U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).


IMB is responsible, amongst other things, for the policies, guidance and strategies that govern the Records Management operations at the NIH to ensure compliance with federal laws, regulations, directives, and guidance.


The NIH Litigation Hold program encrypts all sensitive federal data and information (i.e., OGC or DoJ notification of civil litigation, PII, protected health information [PHI], proprietary information, etc.) in transit (i.e., email, network connections, etc.) and at rest (i.e., servers, storage devices, mobile devices, backup media, etc.) with a FIPS 140-2 validated encryption solution.


An NIH Litigation Hold (Lit Hold) is issued by the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ), HHS Office of General Counsel (OGC), or HHS Office of Inspector General (OIG) to preserve relevant forms of information and associated records, when:

  • Civil litigation has commenced, and/or​

  • Information suggests a credible probability of civil litigation, and/or

  • Circumstances exist that might lead to a conclusion that civil litigation is reasonably anticipated.

​NIH Litigation Hold manages sensitive deliverables among multiple stakeholders, from initial receipt of a civil litigation hold, to the "lift" of the hold when notified by counsel. 

When a Litigation Hold is issued, normal records disposition schedules applying to impacted records are suspended until impacted personnel (employees, volunteers, fellows, interns, covered contractors, and/or covered grantees etc.) are notified that the litigation hold has been lifted. 

When a litigation hold has been lifted, normal disposition schedules applying to impacted records resume.


A NIH Litigation Hold can apply to:

  • Impacted personnel within one or more NIH Institutes, Centers or Offices (ICOs) with possession, custody, or control of records that may be responsive to a Litigation Hold,

  • ​ All types of NIH personnel, if they are involved in the creation, maintenance, and disposition of documents, records, electronically stored information (ESI), or tangibles (such as equipment, laboratory samples, specimens, and photographs), across all locations, physical and digital.

ESSENTIAL NOTE: NIH Litigation Hold DOES NOT perform e-discovery or preservation of potentially responsive ICO records within the operations of NIH Institutes, Centers, or Offices (ICOs).

​ References/Resources

NIH Litigation Hold Policy - Manual Chapter 1743 Appendix 2
HHS Policy for Records Management

Contact the NIH Litigation Hold Program:

The NIH Litigation Hold program is fully successful when all stakeholders collaborate to ensure that federal records (that pertain to ongoing civil litigation holds) are not destroyed.

Please do not hesitate to reach out to our team members with any questions, concerns, or comments.

​Division of Compliance Management personnel are currently full-time teleworking​​.

Contact NIH Litigation Hold Program

Program Lead, Michele Mulholland France

Phone: (301) 496-5587


Branch Chief, Anthony D. Crawley Gibson

Phone: (301) 402-8446


NIH Litigation Hold Program

Information Management Branch (IMB)

Division of Compliance Management

Office of Management Assessment

Office of Management

Office of the Director

6705 Rockledge Dr.
Suite 601
Bethesda, MD 20892

Last modified: 10/9/2021 10:17 AM