The Court believes that parties can and should work out most discovery disputes. The Court will not hear or consider any discovery motions unless the parties have complied with the meet and confer requirement under Local Rule 37.2. Any discovery motion must state with specificity when and how the movant complied with Local Rule 37.2.
Parties are reminded that compliance with Local Rule 37.2 requires a good faith effort to resolve discovery disputes and, other than in exceptional circumstances, requires communication that takes place face to face or by telephone. The Court prefers a face to face meeting, and the mere exchange of correspondence normally will not be sufficient to comply with Local Rule 37.2. The Court considers failure to seriously engage in the meet and confer process to be grounds for denial of the motion.
All parties must be fully prepared to argue any discovery motion on the date it is noticed for presentment. The Court often will decide discovery motions after oral argument and without briefing. If the Court wants briefing on the motion, it normally will set a briefing schedule so that the matter can be resolved promptly. If an opposing party wants to file a written response to a discovery motion, counsel should communicate that request to the courtroom deputy. If Judge Gilbert thinks a response is necessary, the presentment date may be stricken and another hearing date will be set as appropriate or the Court will rule on the papers submitted via the CM/ECF system.
Magistrate Judge Gilbert has had some success with an alternative procedure if a discovery dispute must be briefed. The parties file a joint motion to resolve discovery dispute. The joint motion must set out each issue in a separate section and include in that section each party’s position (with appropriate legal authority) and proposed compromise. This process allows a side-by-side analysis of each disputed issue. If the disagreement concerns specific discovery that a party has propounded, such as interrogatories, requests for production of documents, or answers or objections to such discovery, the parties must reproduce the question/request and the response in its entirety in that section. The entire disputed discovery responses should be attached as an exhibit to the motion. Although it may take a little more time on the front end to prepare a joint motion, it streamlines the process and tends to expedite resolution of the dispute overall. Neither party waives the ability to seek fees or costs with the joint motion process.