Top court adopts changes in civil discovery rules

The Michigan Supreme Court recently adopted extensive amendments to the rules governing civil discovery.

The rules were developed by the State Bar of Michigan Civil Discovery Rule Review Special Committee, which was chaired by Daniel D. Quick.

The rules provide that the scope of discovery should be proportional to the needs of the case, adopt initial disclosure requirements and clarify issues concerning electronically stored information, according to the court.

“This package of rule changes represents the most comprehensive effort to improve civil discovery rules in at least a generation,” said Chief Justice Bridget M. McCormack. “The court is grateful to the State Bar for its hard work to update and streamline discovery, to make it more efficient and effective for the public.”
Quick said discovery “is the most expensive and burdensome element of civil litigation.

“Michigan is now modernizing its rules to stress active case management and that discovery must be proportional to the needs of the case,” he said. “These rules will assist all litigants but will also help increase access to justice by making discovery less costly, providing litigants with sufficient information to identify contested issues early in the pre-trial process, and giving our judges the discretion to right-size discovery to allow litigants the opportunity to have their day in court.”

State Bar of Michigan President Jennifer M. Grieco said the new civil discovery rules “are a step forward to increasing the public’s access to Michigan courts and will allow litigants to more efficiently resolve their disputes at a lower cost.

“I am thankful for the hard work and dedication of our Civil Discovery committee and subcommittee members, especially Dan Quick for his leadership on this project.”

Grieco said she was grateful as well “to all of our members, sections, committees, local bars, and affinity bars that provided feedback as the committee developed the rules.”

The rules are available online and take efffect next Jan. 1.

The State Bar of Michigan will be developing educational tools and webinars to prepare practitioners for the upcoming changes in the civil discovery process.

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