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Initial Discovery Protocols in Discrimination Cases: A Connecticut Update

Posted in Discrimination & Harassment, Highlight, Litigation

New Federal Court Rules

Back in March 2012, I penned (such a colloquial phrase) a piece about new protocols that were being rolled out in employment discrimination cases in federal courts nationwide.

Since that time, the District of Connecticut has been slowly and quietly adopting them in various cases.

A quick review of the District of Connecticut website does not easily or readily locate them. (Hopefully, that will change soon so that attorneys and parties can get better educated about these new rules.)

If you are unfamiliar with these rules, Judge Arterton has posted her version in a link on her page entitled “Forms”.  You can download them directly here. 

Other judges, like Judge Shea, Judge Haight, and Judge Underhill have been issuing orders this month in specific cases and indicating that parties who believe they should be exempt from such protocols may request such an exemption. 

I’ve recapped most of the rules in my prior post and won’t repeat them here.  But what’s important for employers to understand that they have just 30 days from a responsive pleading to do these initial disclosures. These disclosures include things such as the employee’s personnel file and all communications concerning the factual allegations between the employee and the employer, and between the managers/supervisors and/or human resources.  That potentially is a significant undertaking in the early stages of a case.

The full consequences of these new rules are still being felt, but the most dramatic is the importance of early case assessment and, if necessary, quick resolution.   For employers, this may be in an important reason to settle the case early on. 

Change is here for employment discrimination cases in federal court.  Employers who typically have cases in federal court to understand the new protocols and analyze the impact they will have in their cases in the federal court in Connecticut.