The Discovery Facilitator Program is working fine so far but needs improvements. The assignment form needs more information on it for all parties including requiring their email (not just listing a website). Further, the Facilitator should be able to talk to the parties confidentially to help get to the bottom of the dispute. Currently, there is no confidentiality so parties can be more reluctant to admit why they are not fully complying with discovery responses.
David S. Pearson, Law Office of David S. Pearson
I am a one of the attorneys serving as an appointed Discovery Facilitator. So far, I’ve handled only one matter. But I’d say it went smoothly, in fact, the process helped the parties to move past the discovery dispute and settle the entire case!
Jean K. Hyams, Levy Vinick Burrell Hyams LLP
Being a part time neutral early in my practice and full time now for over a decade, I am viewing this program as a volunteer program to help the court out in a very difficult fiscal period. I have had some significant cases here, and in other programs, but usually I make specific recommendations to the ADR Programs Department that is applicable, after arranging a meeting together with all counsel in the same room. During that meeting, with significant assistance from all the Counsel representing the parties, as to the content of the final recommendations made to the Case Assigned Court Judge or Law and Motion Judge (this is maybe not the case in some counties per this actual position, in the Fiscal Crisis as this time) generated actually from the meetings.
Marc Bouret, Bouret ADR & Mediation Firm
I have had just one experience so far, so maybe it is not representative. The opposing counsel seemed to use the process as yet one more tool for obstruction and delay. The Discovery Facilitator’s recommendations were in my favor, including on sanctions, but the amount was meager. We now have a motion pending with the Court. We shall see. For the program to be successful, I think the Court needs to have a greater willingness to assess robust sanctions for clearly frivolous behavior.
I have not yet had a discovery dispute, but I have twice acted as Discovery Facilitator under the program, and I think it worked very well. Each of the parties had an opportunity to vent about how unreasonable was the other party, but the disputes settled based on telephone “hearings” at much lower costs than would have been incurred had they made formal motions.
Filed Under: Question Man