The Southern District of New York has implemented a new Pilot Program for Complex Cases which became effective on November 1, 2011. The program was implemented in “response to the federal bar’s concerns about the high costs of litigating complex civil cases,” and is “designed to improve judicial case management of these disputes and reduce costs and delay.” More specifically, “the rules are intended to shorten the timeline for certain actions, reduce motion practice, and flag issues requiring judicial intervention at an earlier stage in the litigation process.” Fourteen types of civil lawsuits are designated as “complex cases,” including “stockholder’s suits, patent and trademark claims, product liability disputes, multi-district litigation, and class actions.” District Court judges may also “remove a case from the pilot, or they can designate a case as complex” if it does not fall within the other, enumerated categories.
Of particular interest to readers of this blog is the Joint Electronic Discovery Submission which must be submitted by parties who indicate a belief that “relevant information may exist or be stored in electronic format, and that this content is potentially responsive to current or anticipated discovery requests.” The joint submission will be the governing document by which electronic discovery is managed by the parties and the court and requires that the parties discuss issues surrounding preservation; methodologies or protocols for search and review; potential sources of ESI; the format of production; limitations on production, including the identity of custodians, potential date ranges, and the timing of production; inadvertent production; and cost allocation, among other things. The joint submission also requires counsel to “certify that they are sufficiently knowledgeable in matters relating to their clients’ technological systems to discuss competently issues relating to electronic discovery, or have involved someone competent to address these issues on their behalf.”
The program is currently slated to run for eighteen months.
A copy of a press release briefly describing the program is available here.
Standing Order M10-468 which provides all relevant details is available here.