Comments Needed On Proposed Changes To Federal Discovery Rules

When the rights of the injured or violated are vindicated in court, we all benefit. Not only do individuals get justice, but also future violations are prevented, and internal information about corporate wrongdoing is disclosed. This disclosure comes not only from public trials, but also from evidence collected during pre-trial “discovery” and made public.

The Judicial Conference of the United States is proposing to change drastically the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure to limit discovery significantly. These changes would benefit corporate wrongdoers trying to hide information in a case. The result would be not only that victims might be unable to build needed evidence to prove their case, but also that the wider public, including policy and advocacy groups, might never learn core facts about corporate wrongdoing.

A six-month public comment period opened on the proposed amendments on August 15, 2013. Public hearings will be held during this public comment period. Three hearings will be held around the country, including one in Washington, DC on November 7, 2013; a second in Phoenix, AZ on January 9, 2014; and a third in Dallas, TX on February 7, 2014. All comments submitted to the Advisory Committee earlier this year have been docketed on the regulations.gov website that is being used for submissions during the public comment period.

The Judicial Conference needs to hear from those who oppose these proposed amendments to the Rules throughout the comment period and at each of the hearings. The proposed Rules changes will have an impact on your practice and we need you to tell the Judicial Conference how. We encourage you to include personal stories from your own cases in your comments. You may submit comments on one or several of the proposed changes. There is no need to include all the topics and talking points; they are designed to allow you to pick and choose from a range of topics so that your comments will be uniquely yours.

This site is maintained by the National Employment Lawyers Association and is designed to provide resources for organizations and individuals considering submitting comments on the proposed changes. If you have difficulty with the site, please contact Pedro A. Valverde, NELA’s Technology & Office Administrator, at pvalverde@nelahq.org

Important Dates

  • October 7, 2013
    Requests to Testify Due for 11/7/13 Hearing
  • November 7, 2013
    First Public Hearing
    Washington, DC
  • November 7-8, 2013
    Fall Meeting of the Advisory Committee
    Washington, DC
  • December 9, 2013
    Requests to Testify Due for 1/9/14 Hearing
  • January 9, 2014
    Second Public Hearing
    Phoenix, AZ
  • January 7, 2014
    Requests to Testify Due for 2/7/14 Hearing
  • February 7, 2014
    Final Public Hearing
    Dallas, TX
  • February 15, 2014
    All Written Comments Due

NELA Submits Comments

NELA submitted comments in response to proposals being promulgated by the Duke Subcommittee of the Civil Rules Advisory Committee for consideration at the Advisory Committee's April 2013 meeting in Norman, Oklahoma.

How To Submit Comments

Comments are due no later than February 15, 2014. We encourage you to submit your comments by October 1, 2013, one month prior to the first public hearing.

The procedure for submitting public comments has changed from previous experience. Please note the new procedures. Comments may be submitted electronically by following the instructions at http://www.uscourts.gov/RulesAndPolicies/rules/proposed-amendments.aspx. Hard copy submissions may be mailed to the following address:
Committee on Rules of Practice and Procedure
Administrative Office of the United States Courts
One Columbus Circle, NE
Suite 7-240
Washington, DC 20544
All comments are made part of the official record and are available to the public. Comments submitted to the Advisory Committee in advance of their April 2013 meeting will receive a docket number and appear in the public record.

Submit Comments

How To Submit Requests To Testify

Organizations and individuals who wish to present oral testimony at one of the public hearings should coordinate with NELA and the Alliance For Justice. Requests to testify must be submitted in hard copy by mail to the following address no later than 30 days prior to the hearing at which the testimony would be presented:
Committee on Rules of Practice and Procedure
Administrative Office of the United States Courts
One Columbus Circle, NE
Suite 7-240
Washington, DC 20544

Stay Informed

Questions about the proposed changes may be directed to any of the following individuals:

The Alliance for Justice has established a listserv for those interested in sharing information about the proposed changes and how to prevent them from going into effect. If you wish to join the Stop Federal Rules Changes list, please send your request via email to Kellye McIntosh at Kellye@afj.org.