December 2016 Bar Bulletin
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December 2016 Bar Bulletin

Ten Commandments” for Civil Discovery Practice

By Judge John Ruhl


I Always conduct yourself recognizing that you have a reputation among the judges (or that if you don’t yet have a reputation, you will).

II Respect discovery deadlines and heed the standard warnings in the Civil Case Scheduling Order about completing discovery on time.

III Use principles of proportionality and common sense in framing discovery requests.

IV Do not use overbroad “dragnet” language in interrogatories and requests for production.

V Be mindful of the obligations that Washington State Physicians Ins. Exch. & Ass’n v. Fisons Corp., 122 Wn.2d 299, 858 P.2d 1054 (1993), imposes upon counsel and upon the court with respect to the discovery process.

VI Seek a protective order before answers to discovery requests are due, not after your opposing counsel has filed a motion to compel.

VII When appropriate, consider requesting a Rule 16 pretrial conference.

VIII When appropriate, consider moving for appointment of a special master.

IX Respect page and word guidelines with respect to motions.

X Take your opposing counsel to lunch early on in the case, especially if you haven’t worked with that lawyer before, so as to minimize the likelihood of “demonizing” your opposing counsel later on.

– Judge John Ruhl

Presented October 14 at the KCBA CLE
“Pretrial Procedures: Good Intentions
and Unintended Consequences.”


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