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What You Need to Know About the Amendments to the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure Going Live Tomorrow

Major changes to the federal rules go into effect tomorrow December 1st. The amendments apply to cases currently pending in the federal court.  Below are a few highlights of the amendments that lawyers should be aware on a going forward basis.   

Perhaps the biggest change pertains to the scope of discovery permitted in federal courts. As amended, Rule 26 provides that the scope of discovery allows a party to obtain and non-privileged information that is relevant to the parties' claims and defenses, and proportional to the needs of the case. The phrase "reasonably calculated to lead to the discovery of admissible evidence" has been deleted. The concept of proportionality was added to the beginning of Rule 26(b)(1) to emphasize that proportionality can and should be used to limit discovery especially where the burden of the proposed discovery outweighs its likely benefit. There are a series of factors in making a proportionality determination that a court and the parties should consider including the importance of the issues at stake in the litigation, the importance of discovery in resolving those issues, the amount in controversy, as well as the parties relative access to relevant information and their resources.  More ›