Sedona Conference Primer on Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 34

The Sedona Conference has published the preliminary version of its primer on Federal Rule of Civil Procedure Rule No. 34. Here's a brief summary of the contents of this primer.

I. 2015 Amendments Designed to Encourage the Just, Speedy and Inexpensive Determination of Each Action - Addresses Rule 34 on these bases:

A. Overly Board Discovery Requests.

B. Overuse of Boilerplate Objections

C. Responses that don't indicate what objections withheld documents were withheld for.

D. Responses that don't indicate when production would begin and end.

II. Rule 34 Amendments

A. Request for Production must be responded within 30 days if they take place before the Rule 26(f) conference, or if not, 30 days after the conference.

B. Responses must state the basis of objections with specificity.

III. Practice Pointers

A. Party Conferences

1. Early Discovery Conference must address:

a. Location of Data and Systems.

b. What data is in possession, custody or control of a party.

c. Whether or not ESI will be produced in phases.

d. Agreement on how to handle privileged documents.

e. Identification of claims and defenses.

2. Rule 34 Discovery Requests Take Place 21 Days after the service of the Complaint.

B. Requests for Production

1. Blank requests for any and all documents should be avoided.

2. Individual request should be well tailored, limited to the claims and defenses involved in the case, and describe with particularity each item to be produced.

C. Responses to Requests for Production

1. A shorter time to respond to RFPs may be stipulated to or order by the court.

2. General objections should only be made if they apply to all document requests.

3. The parties must state that they are withholding because of an objection, or state the scope of production they are willing to make.

D. Court Involvement

1. Courts are reluctant to strike discovery requests in their entirety. Courts may use informal conferences to resolve discovery disputes as suggest in FRCP 16(b).

E. Requesting and Responding Obligations under FRCP 26(g)

1. Rule 26(g) states that parties have to certify that their requests, responses, and objections are consistent with the Rules, and not interposed for any improper purpose.

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