January 01, 2018

A Framework for Mutual Compliance with Amended Rule 34

Paul Weiner

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In a recent ruling over a discovery dispute, a New York federal judge, the Honorable Andrew J. Peck, admonished lawyers representing responding parties to pay closer heed to their obligations under the amendments to Rule 34 of the Federal Rules implemented more than a year ago:

It is time, once again, to issue a discovery wake-up call to the Bar in this District: the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure were amended effective December 1, 2015, and one change that affects the daily work of every litigator is to Rule 34. Specifically (and I use that term advisedly), responses to discovery requests must:

State grounds for objections with specificity;

An objection must state whether any responsive materials are being withheld on the basis of that objection; and

Specify the time for production and, if a rolling production, when production will begin and when it will be concluded.

Most lawyers who have not changed their “form file” violate one or more (and often all three) of these changes.

Fischer v. Forrest, No. 14 Civ. 1304, 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 28102 (S.D.N.Y. Feb. 28, 2017).

In another ruling over a discovery dispute that was also issued after the amendments to Rule 34, a Louisiana federal judge, the Honorable Karen L. Hayes, reinforced the obligations on lawyers representing requesting parties under Rule 34 of the Federal Rules, obligations that did not change in the 2015 rule amendments:

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