Are you up to speed with litigation discovery and the new federal rules that apply? If not, read on. We have put together this little guide for you to highlight everything you need to know. Brandon Legal Group’s Litigation Attorneys are ready to help you navigate these new rules.
What is Litigation Discovery?
In simple terms, litigation discovery is supposed to be a fair way for all parties in a court case to access evidence from the opposing party. The rules are in place so that everyone is reading from the same hymn sheet and that there is some transparency on each side. It’s all about fairness, but it is fair to say it doesn’t always quite work out according to plan.
What has changed?
The rules for litigation discovery have been revised during 2016. Depending on your viewpoint, those changes can be good or bad. The revisions are all about how electronically stored information – or ESI – is used. In essence, there are thirteen amendments which aim to reduce the cost and effort involved. Some may see the new guidelines as straightening out some of the issues with the previous rules. Others feel that the game is now rigged in favor of corporations and against those that bring them to court. The reason? Although the changes are supposed to reduce costs, the initial stages of litigation are higher than before. This can be offputting for private individuals wanting to bring their case to court.
What do the changes mean?
The broad range of changes will have an impact on the early stages of litigation. A good example is that Rule 4(m) now states you only have 90 days to serve a defendant with a summons and a complaint. It’s a significant reduction down from 120 days. Other rule changes mean that there are now limits on the scope of discovery itself. The discovery has to be “proportional to the case.” Responses to requests for documents and materials also have to quicken to fit the standard of “reasonable time.”
The problems for claimants
There is a wide variety of issues that the new rule changes are bringing. It is vital that claimants move quickly to serve the defendant. The only way to traverse the steep pathway is to work with a lawyer who understands all of the complexities. Whatever kind of case you are looking at, there will be areas that are open to the new changes. Remember, a large part of litigation discovery involves communicating with the judge. Everyone should benefit from the extra transparency, whether you are a defendant or claimant. It’s also important to remember that just because someone has a lot of money, it should not affect the case. You can’t expect unlimited discovery requests just because you can afford it. They must all be proportional to the case.
As you can see, there is a lot to think about in regard to the new changes. If you need any further help understanding them and what they mean for you, please get in touch. Our team of experienced lawyers will explain everything you need to know.