Discovery Issues and other Non-Dispositive Motions
From MN Bench Book - Trial Procedures & Practices for Judges
TELEPHONE CONFERENCE TO ATTEMPT TO RESOLVE DISCOVERY DISPUTES
Many Judges now require a telephone conference with the Court before a discovery motion can be filed. Often a 5-10 minute telephone conference call can resolve these discovery disputes without the need for formal motion practice. Some Judges prefer a two page letter or a succinct email instead of a telephone conference.
APPOINTING A SPECIAL MASTER
If discovery disputes get out of hand (for example more than 3-4 in one case) then appointing a special master may be necessary (see below). At the initial scheduling conference it may be a good idea to strongly encourage the parties to resolve discovery disputes on their own.
POSSIBILITY OF SANCTIONS IF DISCOVERY DISPUTES GO TO FORMAL MOTION
The Court may inform the parties that sanctions will be awarded to prevailing parties on most discovery motions should they go to formal motion.
INFORMAL RESOLUTION PROCESS In addition, expedited, informal resolution of non-dispositive motions via a telephone conference with the Court and the parties is now formally encouraged in the Minnesota Rule of General Practice. A moving party may now invoke the informal resolution process by written notice to the Court and to opposing counsel. See Minn. Gen. R. Prac. 115.04 (d). Short letter submissions setting forth the parties’ respective positions are authorized. The Court, if it decides to hear the parties’ dispute telephonically, can either issue its ruling verbally at the conclusion of the hearing, or in writing later. (Id.)
The potential for electronic discovery should be realized. Production of documents on searchable data disks is encouraged. (This can be tied into Bate’s Stamping of documents discussed herein.)
CORPORATE REPRESENTATIVE DEPOSITIONS UNDER RULE 30.03(f)
Rule 30.02(f) allows a party to depose an organization through one or more witnesses designated by that organization. (Rule 30.02(a) depositions allow a party to depose just about anyone, but 30.02(a) does not require the deponent to do anything to prepare for the deposition). Rule 30.02(f), however, provides that an organization must produce witnesses knowledgeable about the issues in the case; requires that the deponent be appropriately prepared to testify as to those issues; and holds that the organization will be held accountable for the deponent’s answers.