Planning discovery

AuthorWilliam M. Audet/Kimberly A. Fanady/David Ling Y. Kuang
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. 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 admis-
sible evidence”).
3. 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.  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. . 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 and what evidence your opponent has.
2. Determine the most convenient and least expensive source of the evidence you need.
3. Commit your opponent to certain legal and factual positions.
4. Determine what is better for your client: pursuing the case through judgment or settling.
5. Prevent surprise at trial.
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. See, e.g., Westley v. Oclaro, Inc., No. 11-cv-02448
EMC (NC), 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 49148, at *5 (N.D. Cal. Apr. 3, 2013) (“The Court indicated that,
order to concentrate on the question of scienter.”).
2. If you intend to litigate through judgment, propound comprehensive discovery designed to learn every
ing party can nonetheless support summary judgment. Barrionuevo v. Chase Bank, N.A., No. C-12-0572
can support entry of summary judgment.”) (citing Conlon v. U.S., 474 F.3d 616, 620 (9th Cir. 2007)).
     
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
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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