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U.S. Committee weighs in on changing discovery laws

Discovery is a huge cost for companies in lawsuits, and their revision could mitigate much legal expense

The cost of litigation has always been a bane for the enterprise; many argue that expense of legal suits inhibits innovation and the advancement of business into local and international markets. But a consideration for litigation costs and rules has come to the table at the U.S. federal level -- one that could have an impact on the overall cost for companies brought to court.

The U.S. federal Advisory Committee on Civil Rules is considering amendments to discovery rules that would lower litigation costs. Jon Kyl, a former Republican senator for Arizona, and member of the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee, applied his thoughts to the matter for the Wall Street Journal, writing:

"Since 2010, discovery expenses have risen sharply; the median cost is now $1.8 million per case, according to research by the RAND Institute for Civil Justice. The rapid escalation is due largely to court rules that require preserving and accessing vast amounts of irrelevant electronic information."

Discovery expenses comprise the money spent to obtain information and data for the opposing party, although companies that spend large chunks of money to do so could also be responding to other companies' need to comply with their subpoenas. It's an expensive process all around, but Kyl's analysis hails the proposed changes that could reduce the cost through a few measures. Narrowing the focus of the discovery requirements and transferring the costs of the discovery to the party requesting the information as opposed to the party responding are just two of the ways in which the law could alter to mitigate costs. Those who are in favor of the overhaul of the discovery system have until February 15 to send comments to the Advisory Committee on Civil Rules.


Further reading:

Using contract terms to manage e-discovery costs and burdens

E-Discovery: The key to cost-effective corporate due diligence reviews

Federal rules of procedure: The developing e-discovery landscape

E-discovery costs: Pay now or pay later

Contributing Author

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Juliana Kenny

Juliana Kenny is a contributor to, covering a range of topics including patent litigation, conflict mineral laws, executive compensation, and antitrust regulation. Juliana earned B.A.s...

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