Developments in Federal Practice: Discovery and Motions (at least in Ohio)

The Ohio State Bar Association held it’s annual convention on May 14-16, 2008, and I was honored to be invited to speak on the topic of “The Internet and Web 2.0 in the Practice of Law.”

Fortunately, my session was in the afternoon, which allowed me to attend a morning session entitled “Developments in Federal Practice: Discovery and Motions” which featured a magnificent panel of federal district judges from around Ohio. The panel was expertly moderated by Elizabeth “Missy” Wright from Thompson Hine LLP and Charles Faruki of Faruki Ireland & Cox P.L.L.

Judge John R. Adams of the Northern District of Ohio started things off by discussing in detail his Case Management Conference Scheduling Order. He lamented how few attorneys that come before him actually read this order. He also repeatedly emphasized that he always prefers to have parties before him that can fully discuss the case. He highly encourages as much dialog about the case as possible and always likes to have folks before him that have full settlement authority.

Judge Adams noted that e-discovery is becoming a much bigger issue in his court today although he commented that the vast majority of issues that arise are summarily resolved by the parties. He also recognized the Default Standard for Discovery of Electronically Stored Information that have been adopted by the Northern District of Ohio.

Judge Adams commented that he has found parties have generally been working together on e-discovery issues although some disagreements inevitably arise. he mentioned that he has appointed a forensic expert in at least one case to look at a hard drive.

Judge Adams stressed that he knows e-discovery issues are coming and they’re just on the horizon. He also stated that he hopes parties continue to work together in this area.

The other judges on the panel contributed some interesting perspectives on contemporary federal discovery and motion practice, but hardly any of them mentioned e-discovery as a primary concern. I wonder if this is because a) the issue never comes up in front of them; b) parties settle their own e-discovery controversies; or c) it’s simply a non-issue.

(The materials from the session are available on this page, but be aware that they are a 13MB PDF.)