(Effective for cases filed on or after 01-01-2021)
1. Expedited Action Expansion
a. Rules 169, 47(c): amended to expand expedited action procedures to cover cases with amount in controversy of $250k or less, excluding interest, statutory or punitive damages, and attorney fees
b. Rule 190.2(b)(2): in expedited actions, each party now has 20 total hours to depose all witnesses
2. New Mandatory Disclosure Requirements
a. Mandatory Initial Disclosures: Within 30 days after the first answer is filed or general appearance is made, or on a date set by agreement or court order, each party must:
i. Disclose all information previously subject to a request for disclosure (Rule 194.1-194.2),
ii. Provide a computation of each category of damages (documents used to compute damages must be made available to opposing party) (Rule 194.2(b)(4)), and
iii. Produce (or provide a description and location of) all documents, ESI, and tangible things in its possession, custody, or control that it may use to support its claims or defenses
(Rule 194.2(b)(6)). (N.B.: for disclosure doc/ESI/tangible item production, producing party may specify a reasonable time and method to produce under Rule 194.1(b)).
b. Relevant proceedings exempt from initial disclosures:
i. Action for review on an administrative record
ii. Forfeiture action arising from state statute
iii. Petition for habeas corpus
c. Exclusionary Rule (193.6) applies to disclosures not timely made, amended, or supplemented.
d. Discovery Period Now Begins when initial disclosures are due (Rules 190.2 and 190.3).
i. No discovery may be served on a party until after that party’s initial disclosures are due (Rule 192.2).
e. Citations Must Include Mandatory Language Regarding Initial Disclosures (Rule 99(c)).
f. Retained Testifying Expert Disclosures Expanded (Rule 195.5) to also include:
i. Expert’s qualifications, including list of all publications authored in previous 10 years
ii. List of all cases in which expert testified during prior 4 years
iii. Statement of expert’s compensation for testimony
g. Additional Required Pretrial Disclosures (Rule 194.4):
i. At least 30 days before trial, each party must provide to the other parties and promptly file:
1. Name, address, and phone number of each witness
2. Identification and summary of each document or other exhibit
a. Parties must distinguish between the witnesses/documents on which they will rely and those on which they may rely “other than solely for impeachment.”
3. Expert Privilege Expanded
Under Rule 195.5(c)-(d) to protect draft reports and disclosures, and communications between party’s attorney and testifying expert unless they:
a. Relate to the expert’s compensation for the study or testimony;
b. Identify facts or data, which the party’s attorney provided, that the expert considered in forming the opinions to be expressed; or
c. Identify assumptions provided by the party’s attorney that the expert relied upon to form the opinions to be expressed.
4. Bonus: FRCP 30(b)(6) Revisions
a. Subpoenas must now also notify the nonparty organization being subpoenaed of its duty to confer with the serving party and designate a person to testify.
b. Before or promptly after a notice of deposition or subpoena is served on an organization, the serving party and the organization must confer in good faith about the matters for examination.