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Discovery & Disclosure

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This report presents findings from surveys of attorneys participating in the Mandatory Initial Discovery Pilot (MIDP). The survey asks participating attorneys to evaluate the effects of the MIDP initial disclosures on pilot cases closed in the District of Arizona and the Northern District of Illinois through March 2019.

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Beginning on June 1, 2017, the Northern District of Illinois is participating in a three-year pilot project known as the “Mandatory Initial Discovery Pilot Project,” which is studying whether requiring parties in civil cases to respond to a series of standard discovery requests before undertaking other discovery reduces the cost and delay of civil litigation. In this pilot project, when making mandatory initial discovery responses parties are required to disclose both favorable and unfavorable information that is relevant to their claims or defenses regardless of whether they intend to use the information in their cases.

General Order 17-0005 specifies that a Standing Order will be entered in all covered cases. The Standing Order, In re Mandatory Initial Discovery Pilot Program in the Northern District of Illinois, explains the parties’ obligations under the pilot project and sets forth the initial discovery requests to which the parties must respond. All civil cases assigned to participating judges, except those categories of cases exempted by the Standing Order, are included in the pilot program and subject to the Standing Order.

A Federal Judicial Center website displays additional information about the Mandatory Initial Discovery Pilot Project in the Northern District of Illinois.

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Beginning as early as May 1, 2017, some district courts are participating in a three-year pilot project known as the “Mandatory Initial Discovery Pilot Project,” which is studying whether requiring parties in civil cases to respond to a series of standard discovery requests before undertaking other discovery reduces the cost and delay of civil litigation. In this pilot project, when making mandatory initial discovery responses parties are required to disclose both favorable and unfavorable information that is relevant to their claims or defenses regardless of whether they intend to use the information in their cases.

Participating district 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 program and subject to the Standing Order.

These are some of the key requirements under the Standing Order:

  • At the Rule 26(f) conference, parties must discuss the mandatory initial discovery listed in the Standing Order and describe their discussions (including limitations invoked and disputes) in their Rule 26(f) report.
  • Parties must provide the requested information as to facts that are relevant to the parties’ claims and defenses, whether favorable or unfavorable, and regardless of whether they intend to use the information in presenting their claims and defenses. 
  • Parties must file answers, counterclaims, cross-claims, and replies within the time set forth in Rule 12(a)(1)–(3), even if they have filed or intend to file a motion to dismiss or other preliminary motion. 
  • Parties must serve their initial discovery responses by the deadlines described in the Standing Order unless modified by the court.
  • Parties must address certain issues relating to electronically stored information (ESI) and produce ESI by the deadline set in the Standing Order.
  • Pilot judges should hold initial case-management conferences within the time set in Rule 16(b)(2) and discuss the parties’ compliance with the mandatory discovery obligations.

 
Currently there are two courts participating in this pilot project:

 
A Federal Judicial Center website displays additional information about the Mandatory Initial Discovery Pilot Project.

Available Online Only

A detailed description of the Mandatory Initial Discovery Pilot Project, which began in the District of Arizona on May 1, 2017.

A Federal Judicial Center website displays additional information about the Mandatory Initial Discovery Pilot Project in the District of Arizona.

Available Online Only

Beginning on May 1, 2017, the District of Arizona is participating in a three-year pilot project known as the “Mandatory Initial Discovery Pilot Project,” which is studying whether requiring parties in civil cases to respond to a series of standard discovery requests before undertaking other discovery reduces the cost and delay of civil litigation. In this pilot project, when making mandatory initial discovery responses parties are required to disclose both favorable and unfavorable information that is relevant to their claims or defenses regardless of whether they intend to use the information in their cases.

The General Order issued by Chief Judge Raner C. Collins explains the parties’ obligations under the pilot project and sets forth the initial discovery requests to which the parties must respond. All civil cases, except those categories of cases exempted by the General Order, are included in the pilot program and subject to the General Order.

A Federal Judicial Center website displays additional information about the Mandatory Initial Discovery Pilot Project in the District of Arizona.

Available Online Only

A checklist itemizing the procedural requirements of the Mandatory Initial Discovery Pilot Project. The checklist is designed to be helpful to judges presiding over pilot cases and to attorneys participating in pilot cases as pilot requirements apply to the initial stages of discovery. The pilot project began in the District of Arizona on May 1, 2017.

A Federal Judicial Center website displays additional information about the Mandatory Initial Discovery Pilot Project in the District of Arizona.

Available Online Only

A checklist itemizing the procedural requirements of the Mandatory Initial Discovery Pilot Project. The checklist is designed to be helpful to judges presiding over pilot cases and to attorneys participating in pilot cases as pilot requirements apply to the initial stages of discovery. The pilot project is scheduled to begin in participating courts as early as May 1, 2017.

Currently there are two courts participating in this pilot project:

 
A Federal Judicial Center website displays additional information about the Mandatory Initial Discovery Pilot Project.

Available Online Only

A detailed description of the Mandatory Initial Discovery Pilot Project, which began in participating courts as early as May 1, 2017.

Currently there are two courts participating in this pilot project:

 
A Federal Judicial Center website displays additional information about the Mandatory Initial Discovery Pilot Project.

Available Online Only

This report is a study of a discovery pilot testing pattern initial disclosures in adverse action employment cases. Compared to a sample of similar cases, pilot cases did not have shorter disposition times but did have fewer discovery motions.

For the 2015 evaluation, see Report on Pilot Project Regarding Initial Discovery Protocols for Employment Cases Alleging Adverse Action (October 2015). For the pilot materials, see Pilot Project Regarding Initial Discovery Protocols for Employment Cases Alleging Adverse Action (November 2011).

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This guide provides information for judges about organizing, managing, and storing physical documents and electronic materials in chambers. It discusses the importance of federal judges' papers as a documentary record of judges' careers and the work of the federal courts. The guide describes how students of the federal courts use judges' papers and offers guidelines for judges' selection of a repository to house a collection.

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