eDiscovery Daily Blog

Want to Make eDiscovery Proportional? Tie it to the Amount at Stake – eDiscovery Trends

Apparently, the effect of the proposed amendments to the discovery provisions of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure approved for public comment may not be limited to just Federal courts.  They also could have a significant effect on New York’s state courts as well.

According to Brendan Pierson in the New York Law Journal (Proposal Would Tie Scope of Discovery to Amount in Controversy), the “most sweeping change would amend Rule 26(b)(1) to require that courts allow discovery that is ‘proportional to the needs of the case considering the amount in controversy, the importance of the issues at stake in the action, the parties’ resources, the importance of the discovery in resolving the issues, and whether the burden or expense of the proposed discovery outweighs its likely benefit.’”  Since New York courts “generally follow” the current federal discovery standard in which any material that could lead to admissible evidence is generally discoverable (regardless of the amount in controversy), the presumption is that they would follow the new standard as well.

If the US system is the “broadest discovery system on the planet” (according to Alvin Lindsay, a Hogan Lovells partner and an expert in discovery issues), the proposed changes would “bring discovery in the United States more in line with the rest of the world”.

The author cites the Zubulake v. UBS Warburg case as a key turning point in the number of documents preserved and produced in litigation and that growing eDiscovery costs have led to a “backlash among practitioners”.  According to experts, the proposed rules changes are “likely to gain broad support”.  “I don’t know who you’re going to get who’s going to oppose the principle of proportionality,” said Paul Sarkozi, a partner at Tannenbaum Helpern Syracuse & Hirschtritt and vice-chair of the commercial litigation section of the New York State Bar Association.

However, one “possible source of opposition could be class action plaintiffs attorneys, who can sometimes benefit from the more extensive discovery available under current rules”.  It will be interesting to see if there is considerable opposition from plaintiffs’ attorneys.  For more in the article, click here.

So, what do you think?  Are you pleased or concerned with the proposed amendments?  Please share any comments you might have or if you’d like to know more about a particular topic.

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