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Announcement of Emergency Discovery Dispute Resolution Procedure

Friday, July 23, 2010

The Court has adopted a procedure to be followed in the event an emergency discovery dispute arises and the lawyers are not able to resolve it despite good faith efforts to do so. An “emergency” dispute is one that merits immediate attention so that discovery is not unnecessarily delayed.

If such a dispute arises, the process described below should be followed:

1) Counsel should make good faith attempts to resolve the dispute themselves.

2) If unsuccessful, counsel should notify the judge handling discovery in the case (“the presiding judge”). This is the district judge assigned to the case or, in the event that the district judge has entered an order referring all discovery disputes to a magistrate judge, the magistrate judge to whom the referral has been made.

3) Notice to the presiding judge may be by telephone or in writing, as prescribed by the presiding judge. The notice must demonstrate why the matter is an emergency and that counsel have made good faith efforts to resolve it.

4) The presiding judge will determine whether to handle the matter or refer the matter to the duty magistrate judge (DMJ) for resolution.

5) If the dispute is referred to the DMJ, the DMJ will resolve the matter by an oral ruling memorialized as a paperless order on the docket or a short letter ruling. The DMJ may extend the discovery deadline if such an extension will resolve the dispute. If the DMJ determines that the dispute does not warrant emergency resolution, the DMJ will return the dispute to the presiding judge for resolution.

Please note this procedure is only to be followed in true emergencies and only after good faith efforts have been made by counsel to resolve the dispute without court involvement. Counsel or parties who abuse this procedure may be subject to appropriate sanctions.