Western District of Washington: Local Civil Rule Changes

The Western District of Washington amended its Local Civil Rules on December 1, 2012. The defined purpose of the local rules is to “promote the just, efficient, speedy, and economical determination of every action and proceeding.” Local Rule 26(f) specifically addresses proportionality, cooperation, inadvertent production, and the preservation and production of electronically stored information. Local Rule 26(f) also encourages the use of a Model Agreement Regarding Discovery of Electronically Stored Information in Civil Litigation, or a modified version thereof. This “Model ESI Agreement” recognizes that “[a]n attorney’s zealous representation of a client is not compromised by conducting discovery in a cooperative manner,” calls for proportionality throughout discovery, and thoroughly addresses a host of ESI issues, including additional provisions for consideration in more complex cases. The Agreement provides a thorough framework for addressing and resolving ESI issues, making it a useful tool for litigants dealing with ESI issues in all jurisdictions.

The amendments are also notable for their inclusion of new Local Rule 39.2, which provides for an Individualized Trial Program. The program is “meant to offer an abbreviated, efficient and cost-effective litigation and trial alternative.” Subject to court approval, the Individualized Trial Program provides for a consensual, binding trial before a jury or judge with an expedited trial conference, limited discovery, an expedited trial, and limited rights of appeal.

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