Proposed Changes to Local Federal Rules

A committee in the Nevada federal court has been busy. Today is the final day to submit public comments concerning the rather comprehensive revisions to its local rules. The proposed changes may be viewed via the court’s homepage. I encourage you to read them as the revisions touch nearly every substantive area of federal practice, including some discovery topics.

For instance, the proposed LR IA 1-3(f) would define the term “meet and confer,” such as must occur before a discovery motion is filed.

Whenever used in these rules, to “meet and confer” means to communicate directly and discuss in good faith the issues required under the particular rule or court order. This requirement is reciprocal and applies to all participants. Unless these rules or a court order provide otherwise, this requirement may only be satisfied through direct dialogue and discussion in a face-to-face meeting, telephone conference, or video conference. The mere exchange of written, electronic, or voice- mail communications does not satisfy this requirement.

LR IA 1-3(f)(2) clarifies what the moving party must state to satisfy the meet and confer requirement.

A party who files a motion to which the meet-and-confer requirement applies must submit a declaration detailing all meet-and-confer efforts, including the time, place, manner, and participants. The movant must certify that, despite a sincere effort to resolve or narrow the dispute during the meet-and-confer conference, the parties were unable to resolve the dispute without court intervention.

LR IC 6-1 would further address items that must be redacted from court filings. This would not apply to the discovery process where the parties may have a legitimate need for this information.

(a) Parties must refrain from including— – or must partially redact, where inclusion is necessary— – the following personal-data identifiers from all documents filed with the court, including exhibits, whether filed electronically or in paper, unless the court orders otherwise:
(1) Social Security Numbers. If an individual’s Social Security number must be included, only the last four digits of that number should be used.
(2) Names of Minor Children. If the involvement of a minor child must be mentioned, only the initials of that child should be used.
(3) Dates of Birth. If an individual’s date of birth must be included, only the year should be used.
(4) Financial Account Numbers. If financial account numbers must be included, only the last four digits of these numbers should be used.
(5) Home Addresses. If a home address must be included, only the city and state should be listed.
(6) Tax Identification Number. If a tax identification number must be used, only the last four digits of that number should be used.

The proposed change to LR 7-4(b) concerning emergency motions is also a warning shot of sorts. “Emergency motions should be rare. A party or attorney’s failure to effectively manage deadlines, discovery, trial, or any other aspect of litigation does not constitute an emergency.”

The proposed changes to LR 26-1 add requirements to case management conferences and proposed scheduling orders. In addition to the existing requirements, the proposed LR 26-7(b)(7) would state “[t]he parties must certify that they met and conferred about the possibility of using alternative dispute-resolution processes including mediation, arbitration, and if applicable, early neutral evaluation.” LR 26-7(b)(8) would state “[t]he parties must certify that they considered consent to trial by a magistrate judge under 28 U.S.C. § 636(c) and Fed. R. Civ. P. 73 and the use of the Short Trial Program (General Order 2013-01).”

LR 54 contains significant changes to what is and is not considered an ordinarily taxable cost. Some of these directly pertain to discovery practices.

These are only a few of the changes that interested me. Again, I encourage you to read the proposed changes yourself.