RULE 16.1. MANDATORY PRE-TRIAL DISCOVERY REQUIREMENTS–FAMILY
[Effective February 1, 2006, this version of Rule 16.1 applies to all proceedings in the Family Division of the Second and Eighth Judicial District Courts and domestic relations cases in the judicial districts without a family division.]
(a) Attendance at Early Case Conference. Within thirty (30) days after service of the answer by the first answering defendant, and thereafter as each defendant answers the original complaint or an amended complaint, the attorneys for the parties, who must possess authority to act and knowledge of the case obtained after reasonable inquiry under the circumstances, shall meet in person for the purpose of complying with subdivision (b) of this rule. The attorney for the plaintiff shall designate the time and place of each meeting which must be held in the county where the action was filed, unless the parties agree upon a different location. The attorneys may agree to continue the time for the case conference for an additional period of not more than ninety (90) days. The court, in its discretion and for good cause shown, may also continue the time for the conference. Absent compelling and extraordinary circumstances, neither the court nor the parties may extend the time to a day more than one hundred and eighty (180) days after service of the summons and complaint upon the defendant in question. The time for holding a case conference with respect to a defendant who has filed a motion pursuant to Rule 12(b)(2)-(4) is tolled until entry of an order denying the motion.
(b) Meet and Confer Requirements; Mandatory Discovery Exchanges. At each case conference, the attorneys must:
(1) Exchange all documents then reasonably available to a party which are then contemplated to be used in support of the allegations or denials of the pleading filed by that party, including rebuttal and impeachment documents;
(2) Request with reasonable specificity from the opposing party all other documents, discoverable within the scope of Rule 26(b), that may support the allegations of the pleading filed by the requesting party, including rebuttal and impeachment documents. The opponent must (A) provide the additional documents, or (B) agree to provide the additional documents as soon as they are reasonably available, or (C) explain why the documents will not be provided;
(3) Identify, describe or produce all tangible things which constitute or contain matters within the scope of Rule 26(b) and, upon request, arrange for all other parties to inspect and copy, test or sample the same;
(4) Request to inspect and copy, test or sample any tangible things which constitute or contain matters within the scope of Rule 26(b) and which are in the possession, custody or control of another party. The party who has possession, custody or control of such tangible things must (A) provide the discovery requested, or (B) explain why it will not be provided;
(5) Exchange written lists of persons (other than expert witnesses or consultants) then known or reasonably believed to have knowledge of any facts relevant to the allegations of any pleading filed by any party to the action, including persons having knowledge of rebuttal or impeachment evidence. Each person must be identified by name and location, along with a general description of the subject matter of his testimony. Each party is under a continual duty to promptly supplement that party’s list of persons pursuant to this subsection;
(6) Propose a plan and schedule of discovery and make a reasonable effort to agree with opposing attorneys to provide all discovery requested, with any conditions or limitations thereon;
(7) Discuss settlement of the action and the use of extrajudicial procedures or alternative methods of dispute resolution to resolve the controversy; and
(8) Discuss such other matters as may aid in the disposition of the action.
[Added; effective February 1, 2006.]
(c) Case Conference Report. Within thirty (30) days after each case conference, the parties must file a joint case conference report or, if the parties are unable to agree upon the contents of a joint report, each party must serve and file a case conference report which, either as a joint or individual report, must contain:
(1) A brief description of the nature of the action and each claim for relief or defense;
(2) A proposed plan and schedule of any additional discovery;
(3) A written list of all documents provided at or as a result of the case conference together with any objection that the document is not authentic or genuine. The failure to state any objection to the authenticity or genuineness of a document constitutes a waiver of such objection at a subsequent hearing or trial. For good cause the court may permit the withdrawal of a waiver and the assertion of an objection;
(4) A written list of all documents not provided under subsection (b)(2)(C) of this rule together with the explanation as to why each document was not provided;
(5) The written list of persons exchanged pursuant to subsection (b)(5) of this rule; and
(6) An estimate of the time required for discovery.
After any subsequent case conference, the parties must supplement, but need not repeat, the contents of prior reports. Within seven (7) days after service of any case conference report, any other party may file a response thereto objecting to all or a portion of the report or adding any other matter which is necessary to properly reflect the proceedings occurring at the case conference. All case conference reports and responses shall be signed in accordance with Rule 11.
(d) Case Conference Disputes; Court Intervention.
(1) At any time after the filing of a case conference report, the court, upon motion or on its own initiative, may direct the attorneys and the parties to appear before the court or a discovery commissioner to resolve any disputes arising during or as a result of the case conference. The resolution of all discovery disputes by stipulation of the parties shall be entered in the minutes in the form of an order or reduced to writing subscribed by the parties or by their attorneys.
(2) Following each dispute resolution conference before a discovery commissioner, the commissioner must prepare and file a report with his recommendations for a resolution of each unresolved dispute. The clerk of the court shall forthwith serve a copy of the report on all parties. Within five (5) days after being served with a copy, any party may serve and file written objections to the recommendations.
(3) Upon receipt of a discovery commissioner’s report and any objections thereto or after any resolution conference which was held before the court, the court shall enter an order establishing a plan and schedule for discovery, setting limitations on the discovery, if appropriate, requiring compliance with subdivision (b) of this rule, imposing sanctions pursuant to subdivision (e) of this rule, if necessary, and determining such other matters, including the allocation of expenses, as are necessary for proper control of the action.
(e) Failure or Refusal to Participate in Pre-Trial Discovery; Sanctions.
(1) If the mandatory discovery meeting described in Rule 16.1(a) is not held within one hundred and eighty (180) days after service of the summons and complaint upon a defendant, the case may be dismissed as to that defendant upon motion or on the court’s own initiative, without prejudice, unless there are compelling and extraordinary circumstances for a continuance beyond this period.
(2) If the plaintiff does not file a case conference report within two hundred and forty (240) days after the service of a summons and complaint upon a defendant, the case may be dismissed as to that defendant upon motion or on the court’s own initiative, without prejudice.
(3) If an attorney fails to reasonably comply with any provision of this rule, or if an attorney or a party fails to comply with an order entered pursuant to subsection (d) of this rule, the court, upon motion or upon its own initiative, shall impose upon a party or his attorney, or both, appropriate sanctions in regard to the failure(s) as are just, including the following:
(A) Any of the sanctions available pursuant to Rule 37(b)(2);
(B) An order prohibiting the use of any witness, document or tangible thing which should have been disclosed, produced, exhibited, or exchanged pursuant to subdivision (b) of this rule.
(4) Should it appear to the satisfaction of the court at any time that an objection under subsection (c)(3) of this rule to the authenticity or genuineness of a document was made in violation of Rule 11, the court shall forthwith order the party or his attorney, or both, to pay to the other party the reasonable expenses caused by the objection, including reasonable attorney’s fees.
(f) Complex Litigation. In a potentially difficult or protracted action that may involve complex issues, multiple parties, difficult legal questions, or unusual proof problems, the court may, upon motion and for good cause shown, waive any or all of the requirements of this rule. If the court waives all the requirements of this rule, it shall also order a conference pursuant to Rule 16.
(g) Proper Person Litigants. When a party is not represented by an attorney, the party must comply with this rule.
[As amended; effective February 1, 2006.]