Northern District of California: Initial Discovery Protocols Adopted for Employment Cases

On February 1, 2018, Chief Judge Phyllis J. Hamilton of the Northern District of California ordered the adoption of a Pilot Program for Initial Discovery Protocols for Employment Cases. The protocols will apply to cases that allege an adverse action, except case types that have been specifically excluded in the General Order. The discovery protocols will apply to all employment cases that are filed in the Northern District of California after February 1, 2018. Parties that believe that there is good cause why their case should be exempted from the Initial Discovery Protocols may raise the issue with the judge to whom the case is assigned.

Under the direction of the Standing Committee and the Civil Rules Advisory Committee and with the assistance of IAALS, a diverse group of employment lawyers worked together to develop Initial Discovery Protocols for Employment Cases Alleging Adverse Action in 2011. The information and documents identified in the protocols are those that are most likely to be requested automatically by experienced counsel in any similar case. They are unlike initial disclosure under F.R.C.P. 26(a)(1) because they focus on the type of information most likely to be useful in narrowing the issues for employment discrimination cases.

The purpose of these protocols is to encourage parties and their counsel to exchange the most relevant information and documents early in the case, to assist in framing the issues to be resolved, and to plan for more efficient and targeted discovery.

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