Planning discovery

AuthorWilliam M. Audet/Kimberly A. Fanady
Task 1 Determine Discovery Goals
Task 2 Review Applicable Rules
Task 3 Calendar Deadlines
Task 4 Prepare Annotated Proof of Fact
Task 5 Prepare Discovery Plan
Task 6 Prepare Deposition Schedule
Task 6A Discover Electronically Stored Information (ESI)
Task 6B Request Initial Conference in Complex Litigation
Task 6C Draft and Submit Proposed Pre-Trial Order in Complex Litigation
Task 6D Discovery After Removal
Form 1 Timeline: FRCP 16 and 26
Form 2 Annotated Proof of Fact
Form 2.1 Request for Production of Electronic Documents
Form 2.2 Motion for Order Requiring Reconstruction of Electronic Data
Form 2.3 Motion for Order Shifting Costs of Reconstructive Data Discovery
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Determine Discovery Goals
 
1. Making trials a more fair-minded contest by eliminating unfair surprise. Midwestern Pet Foods, Inc.
v. Societe Des Produits Nestle S.A., 685 F.3d 1046, 1055 (Fed. Cir. 2012) (“The central purpose of the
federal discovery rules is to avoid surprise at trial.”).
2. Ascertaining relevant facts and their sources. Klonoski v. Mahlab, 156 F.3d 255, 271 (1st Cir. 1998) (“The
purpose of the discovery rules is to provide for the “fullest possible” pretrial disclosure of admissible evidence”).
3. Narrowing and clarifying issues. Rainbow Popcorn Co. v. Intergrain Specialty Prods., L.L.C., No.
7:06CV5015, 2008 WL 2184116, 2008 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 122957, at *36 (D. Neb. May 23, 2008) (“The
federal discovery rules were designed to…clarify and narrow the issues to be tried.”) (quoting Nutt v.
Black Hills Stage Lines, Inc., 452 F.2d 480, 482-83 (8th Cir. 1971)).
4.  of disputes according to the parties’ substantive rights. Comstock
Potomac Yard, L.C. v. Balfour Beatty Constr., LLC, Civil Action No. 1:08-cv-894, 2009 WL 2496513,
2009 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 73206, at *53 (E.D. Va. Aug. 14, 2009) (“The purpose of the federal discovery
rules is to avoid…the possible miscarriage of justice”) (citation omitted).
5. Creating the framework and . Nelson
v. Am. Family Mut. Ins. Co., No. 13-cv-607 (SRN/SER), 2016 WL 3919973, 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS
93778, at *15 (D. Minn. July 18, 2016) (“purpose of the federal discovery rules is to promote…prompt
and inexpensive disposition of lawsuits.”)
B. Your discovery goals should complement your ultimate goals in a case. Common discovery goals are to:
1. Learn more about the case.
2. Determine what is better for your client: pursuing the case through judgment or settling.
3. Determine what evidence your opponent has.
4. Determine the most convenient and least expensive source of the evidence you need.
5. Prevent surprise at trial.
6. Commit your opponent to certain legal and factual positions.
7. Keep harmful evidence from your opponent, if you can do so ethically.
C. Your discovery goals are often connected to your settlement goals.
1. To encourage early settlement, propound discovery designed to expose your case’s strength and your
opponent’s weakness. In some cases, you may increase settlement prospects by focusing discovery on
one issue, such as damages or a single determinative fact.
2. If you intend to litigate through judgment, propound comprehensive discovery designed to learn every
aspect of the case and elicit admissible evidence for trial.
     
such a claim exists. See E. Sav. Bank, FSB v. Rabito, No. 11-cv-2501 (KAM), 2012 WL 3544755, 2012 U.S.
Dist. LEXIS 115869, at *19 (E.D.N.Y. Aug. 16, 2012) (“A bare assertion that evidence to support a fanciful
allegation lies within the exclusive control of defendants, and can be obtained only through discovery, is not
 see also, Apache Tribe of Oklahoma
v. Brown, 966 F. Supp. 2d 1188 (W.D. Okla. 2013) (party not entitled to discovery to enable it to plead fraud
Harris v. City of Clearlake, No. 12-0864-YGR, 2013 WL 120965, 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 2952, at *19-20
A. Establish your discovery goals as early as possible so each task leads you closer to your goals rather than
wasting time and resources.

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