Illinois District Amends Mandatory Initial Discovery Pilot

Mandatory Initial Discovery Pilot Judges in the Northern District of Illinois have amended the mandatory disclosure requirements for its Mandatory Initial Discovery Pilot (MIDP) program. The three-year Federal Judicial Center (FJC)-sponsored pilot requires exchanges of discovery in participating courts before the commencement of discovery requests. The Northern District of Illinois began the MIDP program on June 1, 2017.

Effective December 1, 2018, parties in civil cases are no longer required to file answers to complaints when a Rule 12 motion is pending. In these cases, the MIDP response period will not be triggered.

Prior to December 1, 2018, parties were required to file answers to complaints even when a Rule 12 motion had been filed. This requirement ensured that MIDP responses were exchanged at the outset of the case.

The requirement was updated in response to concerns that the early-answer requirement led to unnecessary costs for parties who eventually succeed on Rule 12 motions.

The FJC launched the MIDP program in May 2017 to examine if requiring responses for standard discovery requests before entering other discovery would reduce costs and delay civil litigation. The MIDP advances the goal of Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 1: “the just, speedy, and inexpensive determination of every action.”

A Standing Order explains the parties’ obligations under the pilot. All civil cases assigned to participating judges, except those exempted by the Standing Order, are included in the pilot program.

In addition to the Northern District of Illinois, the District of Arizona and the Southern District of Texas Chief Judge Lee H. Rosenthal are also participating in the pilot.

For more information on the MIDP project, please visit the FJC website.


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