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      Amendments to FRCP Soon to Be Open for Public Comment

      Jun 26, 2013
      As reported by Henry Kelston in Law Technology News, the Judicial Conference of the United States' Standing Committee on Rules of Practice and Procedure voted on June 3 to approve for public comment the full slate of proposed amendments to the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure that had been previously approved by its Advisory Committee on Civil Rules.

      As reported by Henry Kelston in Law Technology News, the Judicial Conference of the United States' Standing Committee on Rules of Practice and Procedure voted on June 3 to approve for public comment the full slate of proposed amendments to the Federal Rules of Civil

      Procedure that had been previously approved by its Advisory Committee on Civil Rules.

      A significant proposal would:

      • Narrow the scope of discovery under Rule 26;
      • Impose or reduce numerical limits on written discovery and depositions under Rules 30, 31, 33, and 36
      • Adopt a uniform set of guidelines concerning the imposition of sanctions when a party fails to preserve discoverable information in Rule 37.

      Proposed amendments to Rule 34 would tighten the rules governing responses to requests for production of documents.

      The package also includes changes to Rule 1, adding language to the text to emphasize that the responsibility to use the rules in order "to secure the just, speedy and inexpensive determination of every action" lies with the parties as well as the courts, and inserting comment language to encourage cooperation among parties in applying the rules.

      A provision in proposed Rule 37(e) authorizes the imposition of sanctions without a showing of willfulness or bad faith where a party's actions in failing to preserve relevant information irreparably deprive another party of a meaningful opportunity to present or defend claims in the litigation. This provision also attracted some attention among the standing committee members.

      The proposed amendments were voted on as a package by the standing committee, although members were given the opportunity to vote against specific elements. The committee voted unanimously in favor of approving the package for publication, while three members cast votes against the proposed changes to Rule 1.

      Official publication for public comment is expected later this summer. The public comment period for proposed rules normally lasts six months. The advisory committee, anticipating a high level of public interest in the proposals, plans to hold public hearings in several cities around the United States. While dates and locations are yet to be announced, the first hearing is expected to being held in November in Washington, D.C., to coincide with the advisory committee's next scheduled meeting.

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