Watch Local Rules on Initial Disclosures

Jo Ann Howard & Assocs., P.C. v. Cassity, is a dispute over the production of a Defendant’s initial disclosures.

The Defendant described various ESI and other documents as part of their initial disclosures pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure Rule 26(a)(1).  Jo Ann Howard & Assocs., P.C. v. Cassity, 2012 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 17423 (E.D. Mo. Feb. 13, 2012).

The Plaintiffs argued in their motion to compel that the local Rules and the Case Management Order required the production of the Defendant’s initial disclosures, not merely their description. Jo Ann Howard & Assocs., P.C., at *8-9.

E.D. Mo. L.R. 26-3.01(A) states:

Disclosures shall be made in the manner set forth in Fed. R. Civ. P. 26(a)(1) and (2), except to the extent otherwise stipulated by the parties or directed by order of the Court. Disclosure of documents and electronically stored information pursuant to Rule 26(a)(1)(A)(ii) shall be made by providing a copy to all other parties, except as otherwise ordered by the Court. . . . .

Jo Ann Howard & Assocs., P.C., at *9.

The Court’s Case Management Order required initial disclosures and discovery to be produced by a specific date.

The Court found that taken together, the CMO and Local Rules required the Defendants to produce the information identified in their initial disclosures. Jo Ann Howard & Assocs., P.C., at *9-10.

The Court rejected the Defendant’s argument they did not need to produce anything, because the information was available from a Government production (The Plaintiffs claimed the Government production did not have the information identified in the Defendant’s initial disclosures).  The Court stated, “[A] party is not relieved of its obligation to produce discovery materials merely because those materials are available from other sources.” Jo Ann Howard & Assocs., P.C., at *10.

Bow Tie Thoughts

It is important to always know the local rules. While they cannot outright conflict with the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, they may add additional requirements on a party.

Josh Gilliland is a California attorney who focuses his practice on eDiscovery. Josh is the co-creator of The Legal Geeks, which has made the ABA Journal Top Blawg 100 Blawg in 2013, 2014, and 2015, and was nominated for Best Podcast for the 2015 Geekie Awards. Josh has presented at legal conferences and comic book conventions across the United States. He also ties a mean bow tie.