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Federal lawsuits might become less burdensome

“Discovery” is the phase of a lawsuit before trial in which the two sides have a right to demand relevant information from each other. Sometimes, big companies suing little companies try to “bury” the little company with endless requests for information, hoping to find some stray helpful tidbit or simply pressure the little company to settle to avoid the burden and expense.

But starting in 2016, the federal court rules have been changed to limit this tactic. The rules now say that discovery must be “proportional” to the needs of the case – taking into account the issues, the amount of money at stake, the importance of the information, the parties’ resources, and the burden involved.

This could make it easier to convince a court (at least in a federal case) that the other side’s endless requests for information are out of proportion and should be stopped.

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