Delaware Court of Chancery Amends Rules, Discovery Guidelines

Effective January 1, 2013, the Delaware Court of Chancery has amended its rules “to account for modern discovery demands” and has “expanded its Guidelines for Practitioners,” originally released in January 2012.  The Court’s press release summarizes the changes:

The Court of Chancery will amend its Rules regarding discovery, effective January 1, 2013.  Rules 26, 30, 34 and 45 will be updated to account for modern discovery demands and will bring the Court’s rules in line with current practice.  The amendments refer to discovery of “electronically stored information” (“ESI”) in addition to “documents” and “tangible things,” and explain how parties should respond to requests for ESI.  These changes are consistent with similar amendments to the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure.  Rule 26(c) also was revised to make clear that an out-of-state non-party from whom discovery is sought may move for a protective order in this state.

In addition to amendments to the Rules, the Court also has expanded its Guidelines for Practitioners, originally released in January 2012, to include guidelines regarding discovery.  These guidelines explain the Court’s expectations regarding parties’ responsibility to confer early and often regarding discovery, including about electronic discovery procedures, the overall scope of discovery, preferred procedures for collection and review of discoverable material, including ESI, the privilege assertion process, and the role of Delaware counsel in the discovery process.  The Court also developed guidelines for expedited discovery in advance of a preliminary injunction hearing.  These new guidelines encourage communication among counsel and are intended to assist the Bar in developing reliable and transparent procedures for electronic discovery.  The Court and its Rules Committee are hopeful that use of these guidelines will help avoid unnecessary and expensive disputes regarding the discovery process.

To read the full press release, or to access the new rules and guidelines, click here.

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