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Managing Discovery

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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 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.

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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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The Initial Discovery Protocols for Fair Labor Standards Act Cases Not Pleaded as Collective Actions (Initial Discovery Protocols) provide a new pretrial procedure for certain types of Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) cases. These protocols, developed by a committee of attorneys experienced with FLSA matters, are meant to “encourage the parties and their counsel to exchange information and documents early in the case, help frame the issues to be resolved, and plan for more efficient and targeted discovery.” 

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This repository of materials was developed as a companion to the manual, Navigating Chapter 9 of the Bankruptcy Code, to provide courts with examples of case documents and other resource materials related to issues likely to arise in Chapter 9 cases. Documents are included from cases filed by variety of debtors: cities, townships, and counties; medical-related entities, such as county hospitals and authorities; and political subdivisions, such as sanitary and improvement districts, water districts, and off-track betting authorities.

The materials have been placed into the following categories. Some documents relating to multiple categories have been placed in the most relevant categories and cross-references are made between the categories. Some significant documents have been put into more than one category.

We welcome suggestions about other materials that may be helpful to courts for inclusion in the Chapter 9 repository. Please send your ideas and materials to Beth Wiggins at ch9bankr_repository@fjc.gov.

In Print: Available for Distribution

This third edition of the pocket guide on managing the discovery of electronically stored information (ESI) covers the December 1, 2015, amendments to the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure and reflects the rise of new sources of ESI, particularly social media, and updates judges on how ESI may be searched. It also suggests case-management techniques that judges might use in smaller civil actions in which the costs of ESI discovery could hamper resolution on the merits.

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A detailed description of the Mandatory Initial Discovery Pilot Project, which begins for participating judges in the Northern District of Illinois, Eastern Division, on June 1, 2017.

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

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 begins in the Northern District of Illinois, Eastern Division, on June 1, 2017.

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

Available Online Only

The Northern District of Illinois has created a specific list of events dedicated to the filing of pleadings under the Mandatory Initial Discovery Pilot Project. The complete list of pilot events are:

   Joint Certification to Defer Initial Discovery Deadline (Settlement)(MIDP)
   Motion to Defer Initial Discovery Response Deadline (MIDP)
   Motion to Defer Responsive Pleading Deadline (MIDP)
   Notice of Service of Responses to Mandatory Initial Discovery (MIDP)
   Notice of Service of Supplemental Mandatory Initial Discovery Responses (MIDP)
   Rule 26(f) Report re MIDP
   Stipulation re No Discovery Will Be Conducted (MIDP)

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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