Delaware County Establishes New Complex Commercial Litigation Division, Requires Early Consideration of Electronic Discovery

Effective May 1, 2010, New Castle County, Delaware, has created a new division known as the Complex Commercial Litigation Division.  Available for prescribed categories of cases, including cases with an amount in controversy of more than $1 million (excluding certain types of actions, including, e.g., claims for personal, mental or physical injury), the new division adheres to principles that shall govern the administration of each case.  These principles include assigning the case to the same Panel Judge for all purposes through final disposition and compliance with Panel-established “uniform procedures” such as mandatory disclosures similar to those under the federal rules and the consideration of electronic discovery early in the case, among others.

Specifically regarding electronic discovery, parties will be required to establish “procedures for electronic discovery and other matters relevant to the case (e.g. appropriate protective orders and alternative dispute resolution procedures)” at the Rule 16 scheduling conference, to be held after all responsive pleadings are filed.  A sample plan provided at the court’s website indicates that the orders governing discovery will address:  preservation, form of production, the “permissible scope of discovery of ESI”, and cost allocation, among other things.

For more information about the Complex Commercial Litigation Division and its policies and procedures, click here.

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