Practical Law Feature: The Federal Rules of Civil Procedure Are Changing: Are You Prepared?

November 24, 2015

10445191_Practical_lawHave you heard that major changes are coming to the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure (FRCP)?

These significant amendments will take effect on December 1, 2015, so practitioners should familiarize themselves with the new rules.  The amendments aim to improve case management and discovery in federal litigation in response to the increasing demands of electronically stored information (ESI). Among other things, the amended rules:

  • Require that discovery requests be proportional to the needs of the case and provide a framework for best practices in discovery requests and responses. Parties must now limit discovery requests to information relevant to a party’s claims or defenses, rather than the subject matter involved in the action. Additionally, responses to document requests must:
    • raise objections with specificity;
    • state whether responsive documents will be withheld; and
    • establish a reasonable timeframe for production.
  • Establish clear standards for sanctions related to the preservation and loss of ESI.
  • Encourage early and active judicial engagement and management of e-discovery issues by:
    • shortening service deadlines;
    • requiring the court to issue a scheduling order sooner; and
    • encouraging in-person scheduling conferences.
  • Require parties to:
    • confer before moving for a discovery order;
    • address ESI preservation in the discovery plan; and
    • consider seeking an order under FRE 502(d) to protect against waiver of the attorney-client privilege or work product protection.

Practical Law’s Featured Legal Update, The Federal Rules of Civil Procedure Are Changing: Are You Prepared?, explains in more detail the upcoming amendments and how the amendments will impact federal civil practice. To help counsel comply with (and take advantage of) the numerous changes to the FRCP, Practical Law’s editorial team is also revising all affected maintained resources as of December 1, 2015.