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House Passes Proposed Evidence Rule 502

Posted in FEDERAL RULES AMENDMENTS

On September 8, 2008, the House of Representatives passed without amendment S. 2450, a bill adding new Evidence Rule 502 to the Federal Rules of Evidence.  The Senate had earlier approved the bill by unanimous consent on February 27, 2008.  Having passed in identical form in both chambers, the bill now awaits the signature of the President before becoming law.  The President is expected to sign the legislation in the next several weeks.

The legislation protects against inadvertent waiver of the attorney-client privilege and work product protection and is identical to proposed Evidence Rule 502, which was approved by the Judicial Conference of the United States and transmitted to Congress for its consideration in September 2007.  The new rule will apply in all proceedings commenced after the date of enactment and, insofar as is just and practicable, in all proceedings pending on such date of enactment. 

Congress, with the consent of the Judicial Conference, added additional language to the explanatory note accompanying Rule 502.  The "Statement of Congressional Intent Regarding Rule 502 of the Federal Rules of Evidence" may be viewed here.

Additional information about the legislation may be found on the Library of Congress "Thomas" website, and at http://www.govtrack.us/congress/bill.xpd?bill=s110-2450.