eDiscovery Daily Blog

State eDiscovery Rules: Wisconsin Adopts Amendments to Rules for eDiscovery


On November 1 of last year, we noted on this blog that Oklahoma had become the latest state to adopt amendments to their Rules of Civil Procedure, leaving only 14 states (including DC) to not have enacted any rules changes that address discovery of ESI as of January 1st of this year.

That’s because on January 1, Wisconsin became the latest state to adopt eDiscovery amendments to their Rules of Civil Procedure.  The amendments affect the following Wisconsin Statutes:

  • §§ 802.10(3)(jm) – Scheduling Order: The scheduling order may address the need for discovery of ESI, which focuses early attention on eDiscovery issues.
  • §§ 804.01(4m) – Discovery Conference: The parties must confer regarding discovery of ESI unless excused by the court (required meet and confer).  The required issues to be discussed include the scope of electronic discovery, the preservation of ESI, the format of production, and the costs of proposed discovery (including the extent to which such costs shall be limited).
  • §§ 804.08(3) – Business Records: Parties have the option to produce or allow access to business records in response to an interrogatory.
  • §§ 804.09(1) and (2) – Format of Production: Requesting party may specify “form” of production of ESI and, if no form is requested, information must be produced in the form in which it is ordinarily maintained or in a “reasonably usable form”.
  • §§ 804.12(4m) – Safe Harbor: Contains a safe harbor provision to protect a party who destroys information in good faith according to a routine records retention policy.
  • §§ 805.07(2) – Subpoena: Protect parties from the unreasonable burden of responding to subpoenas asking for ESI by enabling the producing party to produce information in the form in which it is ordinarily maintained or in a “reasonably usable form” and also by permitting testing or sampling of the information instead of inspection of copying.

The required meet and confer provision – §§ 804.01(4m) – was adopted, despite the opinion of the Judicial Council Evidence and Civil Procedure Committee that Wisconsin did not need a mandatory meet and confer rule.  The strong dissent expressed the concern that the requirement “has the potential to diminish both fairness and efficiency along with the potential of increasing the time and expense of litigation” and noted that, unlike the federal courts, Wisconsin state courts “do not have many cases involving a large number of documents and electronic discovery disputes” and that such a rule would “impose ‘significant added burden on litigants while yielding little benefit.'”  It concluded with a call to “judges, lawyers, and litigants from around the state to monitor this new mandate, and if it is not working, [to] petition the court for change.”

So, what do you think?  Wondering where your state stands?  Please share any comments you might have or if you’d like to know more about a particular topic.