Rule 16.1 governs mandatory pretrial discovery requirements. The rule is divided into seven subsections. The subsections are (a) through (g) and govern attendance at the early case conference, meet and confer requirements, case management report, case conference disputes, failure or refusal to participate sanctions, complex litigation, and proper person litigants.
(a) Attendance at early case conference. The Attorneys must meet in person within 30 days after service of first answer being filed in the case. Plaintiff’s counsel is to designate the time and place for the conference. The parties can agree to continue for a period of up to 90 days. However, neither the parties nor the court may continue the conference to a period of more than 180 days beyond filing of the summons and complaint.
(b) Meet and confer requirements; mandatory exchanges. At the conference the parties are to exchange all documents which the parties may use in support of their claim in the litigation or trial. The parties must also make requests upon the other party with reasonable specificity all documents which may support their claims or defenses. The requested of party must then provide the requested documents or agree to provide them as soon as available, or explain why such documents are unavailable. The parties must also identify, describe, and produce all tangible things which are discoverable, relevant and not privileged, to the other side. And each side is to make requests to inspect, copy, sample or test and discoverable items in the other parties’ possession. The party who possesses such evidence or things must then turn these things over.
The parties must also exchange a written list of persons then known who may have knowledge of facts relevant to the allegations in the pleadings including rebuttal or impeachment evidence. These people must be identified by name, location, and a description of what the person may know. The parties are under a duty to promptly supplement this list of persons.
At this conference, the attorneys should work together to create a discovery plan and make accommodations to provide one another with any discovery requested. The attorneys should also discuss settlement proposals or alternate methods of dispute resolution such as mediation.
(c) Case conference report. After the attorneys confer at the meet and confer conference the parties need to file a joint case conference report. This report needs be filed within 30 days of the conference. If the parties can’t agree on a joint report then each party should submit its own case conference report. These reports need to describe the nature of the action and each claim or defense; contain a proposed discovery plan; contain a written list of documents provided at the conference together with any objections to those documents authenticity; a list of all documents not provided along with a description of why they were not provided; the written list of persons whose names were provided; and an estimate time for discovery. Finally, within 7 days after service of a case conference report any party can file a response objecting to any part of such report.
(d) Case conference disputes; court intervention. The court by motion or its own initiative may direct the attorneys or parties to appear before the court or discovery commissioner to resolve any disputes resulting from the conference. If the discovery commissioner oversees this hearing then he or she will submit and file a report with recommendations regarding the dispute. Either party may file an objection to this recommendation within 5 days of it being served. The court will then enter an order after reviewing the discovery commissioner’s report and recommendation.
(e) Failure or refusal to participate in pretrial discovery. If the parties fail to meet and confer as directed by subsection (a) within a period of 180 days following service of the complaint and summons the case may be dismissed against that defendant. If the plaintiff doesn’t file a case conference report within 240 days following service of the complaint and summons the case may be dismissed as to that defendant. Any attorney who fails to comply with any provisions of this rule may be sanctioned by way of any sanction found in Rule 37(b)(2) or by order prohibiting the use of any witness, writing, document, which should have been disclosed per this rule.
(f) Complex litigation. The requirements of Rule 16.1 may be waived in any case involving complex issues, multiple parties, difficult legal questions, or unusual proof problems.
(g)Proper person litigants. Unrepresented parties must comply with rule 16.1