Magistrate Judge Koppe Changes Discovery Motions

I recently received a scheduling order in a case assigned to MJ Koppe and was accompanied by an order setting a briefing schedule for any discovery disputes that may arise.  The order stated its purpose is “to advise the parties that discovery motions filed in this case will not be briefed according to the default schedule outlined in Local Rule 7-2(b), but will instead be briefed on shortened deadlines absent leave from the Court….”  The order then discussed the importance of the pre-motion meet and confer requirements and stated these requirements are met “when the parties ‘present to each other the merits of their respective positions with the same candor, specificity, and support during the informal negotiations as during the briefing of discovery motions.’”[1]

The order then set a briefing schedule for any discovery disputes.

Given the robust requirements for a pre-filing conference, there should be no need for discovery motions to be briefed pursuant to the default deadlines in the local rules in the vast majority of cases. Quite simply, even before a discovery motion is filed, the parties must have developed their respective arguments and must possess the relevant legal authority supporting those positions.1 The Court therefore ORDERS that, absent leave for an extension being granted, the response to a discovery motion shall be filed within 4 days of the service of that motion  and any reply shall be filed within 2 days of the service of the response.

The order also creates the option, but not the requirement of submitting a joint discovery dispute brief.

Any such joint statement must separately address each disputed discovery request, providing the text of the request, the specific objection(s) to it, the arguments of the party opposing discovery supporting each objection, and the discovering parties’ arguments opposing each objection. The parties must meaningfully develop their arguments; merely identifying an objection or response thereto will not suffice. The page limitations established in the local rules will not apply to joint statements, but counsel must be as concise as possible. The joint statement must be complete in itself. The parties may not incorporate by reference arguments made elsewhere. The joint statement shall attach any declarations or exhibits that the parties wish to be considered. The joint statement shall be docketed as a “Stipulation for Order Resolving Discovery Dispute.”

I appreciate the thought and initiative that went into this change.  It will be interesting to see if it actually achieves its goals.

[1] Quoting Nevada Power v. Monsanto, 151 F.R.D. 118, 120 (D. Nev. 1993) (emphasis added by court).