Boilerplate Beat Down

“It is time, once again, to issue a discovery wake-up call to the Bar in this District.”  That is the opening line to Fischer v. Forrest,[1] where another boilerplate beat down was administered.  The order concerned objected to requests for production.  There were three changes to Rule 34 on December 1, 2015 but “[m]ost lawyers who have not changed their ‘form file’ violate one or more (and often all three) of these changes.”

As to the requests for production at issue, the responses were preceded by 17 general objections.  At the end of those, the responding party then stated “[s]ubject to and without waiver of the foregoing general objections which are hereby incorporated by reference into each response, Defendant’s Response to Plaintiff’s Request for Production of Documents are as follows . . . .”  These facts alone should be enough for regular readers to brace themselves for what followed.

The objections were overruled, although I can think of objections to the specific requests at issue that may have been appropriate.  The court also issued a warning.

The December 1, 2015 amendments to the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure are now 15 months old. It is time for all counsel to learn the now-current Rules and update their “form” files. From now on in cases before this Court, any discovery response that does not comply with Rule 34’s requirement to state objections with specificity (and to clearly indicate whether responsive material is being withheld on the basis of objection) will be deemed a waiver of all objections (except as to privilege).

As I stated before, seriously, boilerplate objections are a bad idea.

[1] 14 Civ. 1304, 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 28102 (S.D.N.Y. Feb. 28, 2017).