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Mandatory Initial Discovery Pilot Project: Overview
Beginning as early as May 1, 2017, some districts are participating in a three-year pilot project, known as the “Mandatory Initial Discovery Pilot Project,” which will study whether requiring parties in civil cases to respond to a series of standard discovery requests before undertaking other discovery will reduce the cost and delay of civil litigation. Participating courts have adopted a Standing Order explaining the parties’ obligations under the pilot project and setting forth the initial discovery requests to which the parties must respond. All civil cases, except those categories of cases exempted by the Standing Order, are included in the pilot project and subject to the Standing Order.
Districts currently participating in the pilot project are the District of Arizona and the Northern District of Illinois. In addition, Southern District of Texas Chief Judge Lee H. Rosenthal is participating.
Two video presentations provide further information about the pilot project:
- “Introduction to the Mandatory Initial Discovery Pilot” is a twenty-two-minute video description of the pilot project’s goals and procedures.
- “Mandatory Initial Discovery Pilot: A Discussion of Practice and Effects” is a sixty-eight-minute panel discussion by judges and attorneys in Arizona’s state courts who have experience with the type of mandatory initial discovery disclosures required by the pilot project.
Also planned is an “Expedited Procedures Pilot Project.” See Jeffrey S. Sutton & Derek A. Webb, Bold and Persistent Reform: The 2015 Amendments to the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure and the 2017 Pilot Projects, Judicature, Autumn 2017, at 12 (discussing both pilot projects).