Federal Rules of Civil Procedure: Discovery
The Federal Rules of Civil Procedure (FRCP) govern civil procedure in the United States district courts, or more simply, court procedures for civil suits. Although federal courts are required to apply the substantive law of the states as rules of decision in cases where state law is in question, the federal courts almost always use the FRCP as their rules of procedure. States make their own rules that apply in their own courts, but most states have adopted rules that are based on the FRCP. The rules, established in 1938, replaced the earlier Field Code and common law pleadings. They have undergone significant revisions in 1948, 1963, 1966, 1970, 1980, 1983, 1987, 1993, and 2000.
Revisions to FRCP Electronic Discovery
Federal Rules of Civil Procedure span several electronic discovery phases, from legal hold to production. Ever-evolving, the FRCP electronic discovery rules were revised in 2006, making it even more critical for companies to have a streamlined process. Whether you’re facing litigation, regulatory inquiries, or internal investigations, the massive volume of electronically stored information (ESI) and pressure to control costs presents numerous challenges for every organization. The Symantec eDiscovery Platform powered by Clearwell helps simplify the entire process to make the FRCP electronic discovery faster and easier to execute.
These revisions to the FRCP included practical changes in eDiscovery rules that will make it easier for courts and litigating parties to manage electronic records and digital evidence. The Rules are designed to encourage uniformity and provide a structure for earlier and more predictable agreements, arguments, and motion practice surrounding electronic discovery and discovery law.
Key changes to the FRCP electronic discovery include:
- Rule 16 (b): Parties must prepare for a schedule conference to address its plans for eDiscovery and document production within 120 days of a company filing a lawsuit
- Rule 26 (f): Parties must sit down together at least 21 days before holding the scheduling conference to discuss and agree on some form of procedure or protocol to govern the eDiscovery process (within 99 days of a lawsuit being served)
- Rule 16 (b) (5): Will make it possible for the court include the eDiscovery agreement that results from the scheduling conference in the scheduling order
- Rule 26 (a): Expands the definition of eDiscovery material from “documents” or "data compilations" to include all electronically stored information (ESI). You can now discover from e-mail (electronic mail or email) and word documents to voicemail, instant messaging, backup tapes, database files and more.
Read: Beyond the Hype: Understanding the Real Implications of the Amended Federal Rules of Federal Procedure
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