The Court believes that parties can and should work out most discovery disputes and thus discourages the filing of discovery motions. The Court will not consider any discovery motion unless the movant has complied with the meet-and-confer requirement of Local Rule 37.2. This applies not only to motions to compel, but also applies to motions to quash discovery or for protective orders against discovery. The motion must state with specificity when and how the movant complied with Local Rule 37.2. Remember that compliance with Local Rule 37.2 requires a good-faith effort to resolve discovery disputes and also requires that the conferral take place face-to-face or by telephone. The exchange of correspondence will almost never be good enough to comply with Local Rule 37.2.
All parties should be fully prepared to argue any discovery motion on the date that it is presented. The Court most often will rule on discovery motions after hearing argument at the motion call and without further briefing (though sometimes it is plain that briefing is needed). If after hearing argument, the Court believes that the motion requires briefing, the Court normally will set an expedited briefing schedule so that the matter can be resolved promptly.
Parties must immediately notify the Court if they are withdrawing (or narrowing) any previously filed discovery motions.
Remember that there is generally no particular sequence in which discovery must occur, and that one party’s failure or inability to respond to discovery will not excuse any other party’s prompt compliance. Remember too that the pendency of a motion, such as a motion to dismiss, does not necessarily operate as a stay of discovery, although very often one or both parties might be justified in asking for a stay.
Judge Chang sets realistic discovery deadlines at the initial status hearing, based on a close review of the pleadings and the initial status report. The parties must issue discovery and respond to discovery as needed to meet the discovery deadlines, which means planning ahead so that there is no last-minute scramble as the deadline approaches. Also, any motion to extend discovery must be presented in writing (after conferral with the other side), filed in advance of the fact discovery deadline, and must demonstrate good cause for the extension.
Judge Chang generally does not set a case for trial until it is really ready for trial (that is, all discovery is done, dispositive motions denied, and settlement efforts exhausted). That means that the parties get a real trial date, not a placeholder, which allows the parties and witnesses to better plan and allows the Court’s trial calendar to be a real one, with no double-booking, very rare continuances, and very rare last-minute settlements. The important consequence is that Judge Chang’s trial calendar is rarely occupied very far into the future, because the trial calendar contains only real trial dates, so the parties can get a faster, real trial date when the case is ready to go. It also means, however, that the parties should be alert that the “there is no trial date” excuse to extend discovery is not persuasive to Judge Chang.
Limit on the Number of Requests to Admit
The Court sets a limit of 25 requests to admit, under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 36, per side. Per “side” means parties represented by the same counsel.