State Bar Special Committee to Review Civil Discovery Court Rules

A new State Bar of Michigan special committee will review and propose revisions to the 1985 Michigan Court Rules on the civil discovery process. Appointed in September 2016 by then SBM President Lori Buiteweg, the Special Committee on Civil Discovery Court Rule Review will address the expense and burden of civil discovery and will examine and recommend updates to technology considerations and the organization of rules. SBM Representative Assembly Immediate Past Chair Daniel Quick chairs the special committee, which held its first meeting in early November.

“In a rapidly changing world, it is vital that these rules be updated to reflect new realities brought about by changes in technology while ensuring that our courts are accessible and the discovery process is fair to all,” SBM President Larry Nolan said.

Other members of the committee include Hon. James Alexander, Richard Bisio, Anne Boomer, Lorray Brown, David Christensen, Edward Cooper, Hon. Elizabeth Gleicher, Mathew Kobliska, James Liggins, Karen Safran, George Strander, Valdemar Washington, and Hon. Christopher Yates.

“The members of the committee brought great energy and passion to our first meeting, and we’re confident we can contribute in a vital way to the Michigan Supreme Court’s efforts to drive improvements in the legal process for the public,” Daniel Quick said.

The Special Committee on Civil Discovery Court Rules Review will build on the work of the State Bar of Michigan 21st Century Practice Task Force and the State Bar of Michigan Judicial Crossroads Task Force. Michigan Supreme Court Chief Justice Robert P. Young Jr. has credited the 2011 Crossroads report with making valuable contributions to the transformational, cost-saving changes now underway in Michigan’s court system at the direction of the Michigan Supreme Court.

The Special Committee on Civil Discovery Court Rules Review’s proposed schedule will unfold over the next year and will culminate in the release of a report to the Michigan Supreme Court in the fall of 2017.

The committee’s recommendations will be developed based on the work of several subcommittees, which will review rules concerning all aspects of discovery, including e-discovery; expert witnesses; the scope and course of discovery; case management; the impact of court rule changes on discovery practices in the district, probate and family courts; and the prospect of differentiated case management. Eventually, recommendations will be presented to the Representative Assembly (with a target of September 2017) and then to the Michigan Supreme Court.

Given the time and expense of discovery, and in light of the publicity surrounding the recent changes to the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, the committee hopes to gain valuable insight from State Bar members, and will additionally seek input from a broad array of State Bar sections, local and affiliate bar associations, and other key stakeholders. If you would like to provide general comments on this topic, please e-mail civildiscovery@mail.michbar.org by Dec. 15, 2016. Another public comment period will take place when recommendations are in draft form, in the spring of 2017.