Potential Changes to Discovery Rules for Litigation Support Experts

Recent developments may drastically alter the discovery process for litigation support experts. In the past, under Rule 26 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, expert's draft reports and expert-attorney communications were discoverable. However, the U.S. Judicial Conference recently approved and submitted proposed changes of Rule 26 to the Supreme Court that would essentially remove that requirement. 

It is anticipated that the Supreme Court will ratify these changes in May and, barring rejection by Congress, the revised rules will become effective on December 1, 2010.

While certain evidence would still be discoverable including an expert’s compensation and the facts, data, and assumptions relied upon by the expert, this change will have a major impact in litigation. Attorneys will have less need to argue and strategize over expert discovery. Additionally, experts will be able to spend less time responding to and dealing with discovery requests. The net result will be much less aggravation and reduced costs to the parties to the litigation. Regardless of these changes, finding well-qualified and experienced experts will still be as important as ever.

For more information about Schneider Downs litigation support and other business advisory services, please contact Joel Rosenthal at 412.697.5387 or jrosenthal@schneiderdowns.com or Tom Claassen at 412.697.5330 or tclaassen@schneiderdowns.com

Schneider Downs provides accounting, tax, wealth management and business advisory services through innovative thought leaders who deliver the expertise to meet the individual needs of each client. Our offices are located in Pittsburgh, PA, and Columbus, OH.

This advice is not intended or written to be used for, and it cannot be used for, the purpose of avoiding any federal tax penalties that may be imposed, or for promoting, marketing or recommending to another person, any tax related matter.

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