State Bar panel to review civil discovery court rules

A new State Bar of Michigan special committee will review and propose revisions to the 1985 Michigan Court Rules on the civil discovery process.

Appointed in September by then-SBM President Lori Buiteweg, the Special Committee on Civil Discovery Court Rule Review will address the expense and burden of civil discovery and examine and recommend updates to technology considerations and the organization of rules.

Daniel Quick, SBM Representative Assembly immediate past chair, heads the special committee, which held its first meeting in early November.

“In a rapidly changing world, it is vital that these rules be updated to reflect new realities brought about by changes in technology while ensuring that our courts are accessible and the discovery process is fair to all,” SBM President Larry Nolan said.

Other members of the committee include Oakland County Circuit Court Judge James Alexander, Richard Bisio, Anne Boomer, Lorray Brown, David Christensen, Edward Cooper, Michigan Court of Appeals Judge Elizabeth Gleicher, Mathew Kobliska, James Liggins, Karen Safran, George Strander, Valdemar Washington and Kent County Circuit Court Judge Christopher Yates. 

“The members of the committee brought great energy and passion to our first meeting, and we're confident we can contribute in a vital way to the Michigan Supreme Court's efforts to drive improvements in the legal process for the public,” Quick said.

The panel will build on the work of the SBM 21st Century Practice Task Force and the State Bar of Michigan Judicial Crossroads Task Force.

Michigan Supreme Court Chief Justice Robert P. Young Jr. has credited the 2011 Crossroads report with making valuable contributions to the transformational, cost-saving changes now underway in Michigan’s court system at the direction of the Michigan Supreme Court.

The new committee’s proposed schedule will unfold over the next year and culminate in the release of a report to the Supreme Court next fall.

The committee’s recommendations will be developed based on the work of several subcommittees, which will review rules concerning all aspects of discovery, including e-discovery, expert witnesses, the scope and course of discovery, case management, the impact of court rule changes on discovery practices in the district, probate and family courts as well as the prospect of differentiated case management. Eventually, recommendations will be presented to the Rep Assembly,  with a target of next September, and then to the Supreme Court.

Given the time and expense of discovery, and in light of the publicity surrounding the recent changes to the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, the committee hopes to gain insight from State Bar members and will additionally seek input from a broad array of State Bar sections, local and affiliate bar associations and other key stakeholders. 

Those wishing to provide general comments are encouraged to email civildiscovery@mail.michbar.org by Dec. 15. Another public comment period will take place when recommendations are in draft form in the spring.

 

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