In an article for LawyerIssue, Shook, Hardy & Bacon Partner Mark Behrens and Staff Attorney Virginia Knapp Dorell discuss proposed changes to the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, suggesting that the changes will help relieve some of the costs associated with discovery that often force parties to seek settlements in cases that should not be settled on their merits. The proposed rules would encourage earlier and more active management of discovery by judges and place a greater emphasis on proportionality in the scope of discovery.
"The proposed amendments to the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure are an acknowledgement that the current process of pretrial discovery in federal courts needs to be improved," Behrens and Dorell explain. "The language has been carefully crafted and enjoys strong support. The 'black letter' in the new Rules will provide a modest help. If judges and litigants embrace the spirit of the changes, the changes could be even more dramatic."