Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Federal Judicial Center Report on the Timing of Scheduling Orders and Discovery Cut-Off Dates

The Federal Judicial Center has released a report to the Advisory Committee on Civil Rules entitled The Timing of Scheduling Orders and Discovery Cut-Off Dates, authored by Emery G. Lee III. Here’s the executive summary:

This report summarizes findings on the timing of scheduling orders and discovery cut-off dates in more than 11,000 civil cases filed in 11 districts in 2009 and 2010. The first part of the report examined times from the filing of the case to issuance of the first scheduling order.

• The median time from filing to first scheduling order was 106 days, or 3.5 months (N = 11,483). The comparable mean was 126.1 days, or 4.1 months.

• The 11 districts studied had median times from filing to first scheduling order that ranged from 77 days, or 2.5 months, to 125 days, or 4.1 months, for a difference of 1.6 months.

• The nature-of-suit category with the shortest median time from filing to first scheduling order was torts, at 97 days, or 3.2 months. Complex and the catch-all other cases had longer medians (121 and 122 days, or 4 months).

The same analysis was performed for times from entry of the first scheduling order to first imposed discovery cut-off (i.e., the discovery cut-off date in the scheduling order).

• The median time from entry of the first scheduling order to first imposed discovery cut-off, without regard to any extension, was 187 days, or 6.2 months (N = 11,348). The comparable mean was 198.6 days, or 6.5 months.

• The 11 districts had median times from entry of the first scheduling order to first imposed discovery cut-off that ranged from 143 days, or 4.7 months, to 240 days, or 7.9 months, for a difference of 3.2 months.

• The nature-of-suit category with the shortest median time from entry of the first scheduling order to first imposed discovery cut-off was the catch-all other category, at 157 days, or 5.2 months. The contracts (6.6 months) and complex (7.1 months) categories had the longest observed medians.

These two analyses can be combined to capture the time from the filing of the case to first imposed discovery cut-off date.

• The median time from filing to first imposed discovery cut-off for all cases (N = 11,281) was 312 days, or 10.2 months. The comparable mean was 324 days, or 10.7 months.

• Districts ranged from a median time from filing to first imposed discovery cut-off of 252 days, or 8.3 months, to 378 days, or 12.4 months, for a difference of 4.1 months.

• In terms of nature-of-suit categories, the category with the shortest median time from filing to first imposed discovery cut-off was consumer, at 295 days, or 9.7 months. The longest median time from filing to first imposed discovery cut-off was observed in complex cases, 359 days, or 11.8 months (or about one year).

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http://lawprofessors.typepad.com/civpro/2011/11/federal-judicial-center-report-on-the-timing-of-scheduling-orders-and-discovery-cut-off-dates.html

Discovery, Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, Recent Scholarship | Permalink

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