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Rule changes make e-discovery more efficient

On May 29, and effective July 1, the Illinois Supreme Court amended Supreme Court Rules 201 and 214 to make discovery of electronically stored information, or ESI, more efficient. Among other things, the changes empower courts to deny ESI discovery requests that are too burdensome, and they remove the outdated (and often ignored) requirement that ESI be produced in print form.

Rule 201 as amended expressly discourages discovery requests that are “disproportionate in terms of burden or expense” and specifies that a “court may determine whether the likely burden or expense of the proposed discovery, including electronically stored information, outweighs the likely benefit”….The amendments also add a definition of ESI to the court’s discovery rules for the first time.

Rule 214 was revised to provide that “if a request does not specify a form for producing electronically stored information, a party must produce it in a form or forms in which it is ordinarily maintained or in a reasonably usable form or forms.” It also eliminates the requirement that ESI be “produce[d]…in printed form”….

Timothy Chorvat of Jenner & Block, chair of the ISBA’s Civil Practice and Procedure Section, said the amendments are “important and welcome reforms to the procedures governing discovery of ESI. Computer data makes up an ever-increasing proportion of the information that parties exchange in discovery, and the new rules will assist parties to effectively manage the production of electronically stored information while at the same time providing protections against disproportionate burdens and costs.”

Posted on Jun 12, 2014 by Mark Mathewson | Comments (1)
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About time, especially “[the] court may determine whether the likely burden or expense of the proposed discovery, including electronically stored information, outweighs the likely benefit[.]" Let's hope judges take this seriously. Any small business litigant with one or two computers can be forced to spend $10,000.00 or more producing irrelevant metadata. My sense is that a large majority of small business litigation attys. don't insist that opponents produce ESI in discovery is because they don't want to be on the receiving end of the same.

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