University of Denver

Preliminary Results Reflect Growing Belief that Utah Rule Reforms Having Intended Impact

Senior Director

In a recent post on the long-awaited results from pilot project experimentation around the country, we shared evaluations from the New Hampshire and Boston Litigation Session pilot projects. Initial data is now available from Utah as well, where significant rule changes were implemented in 2011, including comprehensive initial disclosures, a requirement that discovery be proportional, and tiered discovery based on amount in controversy.

Near the end of the comment period for the proposed federal rule amendments, Judge Derek P. Pullan, a District Court Judge from Utah, submitted a comment on the reform efforts in Utah and included initial evaluation data gathered by the National Center for State Courts. As Judge Pullan summarized in his comment:

Preliminary results show that while many attorneys are reserving judgment on the effect of Utah's rule change, this population is declining. A growing number of attorneys believe discovery reform is having its intended effect. In the most recent survey, 52% of attorneys agreed that the amount of disclosure and standard discovery provided sufficient information to inform assessment of claims made. Another 25% remained neutral on this question, but that number has declined from 45%. Only 14% of attorneys believed that the amount of discovery taken was disproportionate to the legal and factual complexity of the case and the amount in controversy.