E-discovery rules for Florida are expected to be proposed next year, according to Lawrence Kolin, who chairs the Civil Procedure Rules Subcommittee on Electronic Discovery.
Kolin’s group, consisting of attorneys in diverse areas of practice and members of the judiciary, has been studying the application of the federal rules amendments in this area since their passage.
“Recognizing the strain on resources, we want to incentivize the parties to work though anticipated issues before judicial intervention, whenever possible,” said Kolin of Orlando.
Kolin points to the rising burden and cost of discovery in litigation which has resulted in such efforts as the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit initiating a pilot program to encourage early and informal information exchange on commonly encountered issues.
“Surprisingly, of the states that have adopted statewide procedural rules largely based on federal language, only a minority has made mandatory the ‘meet and confer’ provisions — perhaps in deference to the stark difference in state and federal practice culture,” said Kolin, adding the discussion over a one-size-fits-all e-discovery rules approach continues.
As an interim step, Kolin said the subcommittee worked with Orange County Bar members, The Florida Bar Business Law Section, and experts in the area, including Ralph Losey and William Hamilton, who teach a law school course in the subject, to create local case management rules.
Kolin said those rules have begun to roll out in the “business courts” or complex business litigation divisions of the state, beginning with the 13th Circuit last summer. Judge Richard Nielsen, who presides over that division, has indicated that most of the cases involving electronically stored information (ESI) have sophisticated businesses as parties and attorneys accustomed to the use of technology and the concepts of preservation and proportionality, according to Kolin.
Kolin recently met with Orlando business court Judges Frederick Lauten and Thomas Smith who he says are in favor of adopting similar language and will be approaching Chief Judge Belvin Perry about a Ninth Judicial Circuit administrative order. He has also contacted 11th Circuit Judge Gill Freeman and General Magistrate Elizabeth Schwabedissen, as well as Judges Jeffrey Streitfeld and Charles Greene in the 17th Circuit, regarding adopting case management rules for ESI in advance of statewide rules.
The subcommittee is also working with members of the joint committee of the Trial Lawyers Section and the conferences of the circuit and county courts judges to include the topic of e-discovery in the next Handbook on Discovery Practice.
Kolin continues to encourage members of the bench and Bar to contact his subcommittee with comments and experiences about electronic discovery at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
[Revised: 11-10-2009 ]