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Mandatory Initial Discovery Pilot Project



Beginning as early as May 1, 2017, two districts participated in a pilot project known as the “Mandatory Initial Discovery Pilot Project,” which studied whether requiring parties in civil cases to respond to a series of standard discovery requests before undertaking other discovery would reduce the cost and delay of civil litigation. The participating courts adopted a Standing Order explaining the parties’ obligations under the pilot project and setting forth the initial discovery requests to which the parties had to respond. All civil cases, except those categories of cases exempted by the Standing Order, were included in the pilot project and subject to the Standing Order.

The districts participating in the pilot project were the District of Arizona and the Northern District of Illinois.

A Checklist summarized pilot-project procedures and requirements, and a Users’ Manual fleshed them out.

Two video presentations provided further information about the pilot project:

The Federal Judicial Center published empirical information about this pilot project in 2022: Emery G. Lee & Jason A. Cantone, Mandatory Initial Discovery Pilot (MIDP) − Final Report (November 1, 2022).

Also planned was 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).

The Advisory Committee on the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure brought its consideration of these pilot programs to a close in October 2023.