New amendments have been proposed again to the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. Once again, the proposals have the goal of limiting discovery and the burden and expense that goes along with it. As the Judicial Conference described the recommendations from the Advisory Committee on the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure that were sent to the US Supreme Court this week:
The proposed changes seek to reduce litigation costs and delays by encouraging early case management by judges, increased cooperation among the parties, and the proportional use of discovery based on the needs of the case.
You can find the proposed civil rule amendments here: Pending Rules Amendment page. And if you really want to learn more, you can review a memo describing the changes here: Proposed Amendments.
The most interesting aspect for me is the increased involvement of Judges early in the discovery process to try and keep it under control. I have not found a Judge yet that wants to be more involved with the discovery process in civil cases.
I think it may be what is needed (or at least should be tried) to reign in the out of control and overly broad discovery process that results in a a lot of time and money being consumed while providing information that is not even colorably relevant to a case.
But I have my doubts that after 4 decades of trying to alter discovery under the procedural rules that this will have much of an impact even if it is adopted by the SCOTUS and Congress allows the amendments to the rules. I hope so, but we’ll have to wait and see . . . Even if all goes as planned, the amendments won’t go into effect until December of 2015.