a. FRCP 26-37 General
i. Narrow and clarify the basic issues between the parties, and as a device for ascertaining facts relative to those issues. Reduce the possibility of surprise.
ii. Discovery may not be used to determine whether a claim exists.
iii. Modern trend increase in pretrial disclosure, less unpredictable trial proceedings. Less dramatic maneuvering and increased good faith lawyering.
1. Historical: procedures made less formal so fewer technicalities can be invoked at the expense of the other.
iv. American Adversarial Method / System
v. Complex litigation conundrum: abuse of discovery procedures, all too often discovery practices enable the party with greater financial resources to prevail by exhausting resources of a weaker opponent.
vi. Whatever you file in your complaint is discoverable and the other side can see.
vii. Major Issues:
1. Discovery versus Privacy
2. Pushing Discovery versus Summary Judgment
3. Who Pays for Discovery?
b. Allowing Discovery (in summary)
i. sufficient reason
ii. Costly and time consuming is no excuse.
iii. P shows demonstrable need: information sought relevant and necessary.
iv. D has sole possession
v. No practical means, unreasonably burdensome other means.
vi. Cover your own costs. (in general)
c. FRCP 26 General Provisions Governing Discovery; Duty of Disclosure
i. FRCP 26a is self-executing, “automatic” once complaint is filed.
1. 26a Initial disclosures: Just hand the FRCP26a materials over. Right off the bat.
2. exempt from initial disclosure: 26(a)(e)
a. FRCP 35 Physical and Mental Examinations is not self-executing.
b. FRCP 37a : motion to compel because other party refuses discovery request.
FRCP 26b Discovery Scope and Limits
1. 26b1 generally
i. Kozlowski v. Sears, Roebuck & Co.
12. Massive database on pajamas, sales records, and flammable clothes. Difficult to sort out and find.
13. D argues FRCP 26b(2)(iii). Burdensome argument.
14. Merely because compliance with a request for production is costly or time-consuming is not ordinarily sufficient reason to grant a protective order where requested material is relevant and necessary to the discovery of evidence.
ISSUE: Who Pays for Discovery?
i. Cover your own costs (in general)
15. American rule: party producing discovery pays reasonable cost, unless they argue 26b2 (difficult, burdensome), argue for compromise.
16. Governmental agency, special case?
ii. Marginal Utility Cost
17. More densely relevant, you pay. less, don’t pay
The more likely the backup tape contains info relevant to the claim or defense, the fairer it is for the government agency to search at its own