Connecticut Employment Law Blog Insight on Labor & Employment Developments for Connecticut Businesses

[Updated] Discovery Protocols in Employment Cases Are Here to Stay in Federal Court

Posted in Discrimination & Harassment, Highlight, Human Resources (HR) Compliance, Laws and Regulations, Litigation

UPDATED 11/22/13, 3p

Earlier this week, members of the CBA’s Federal Practice Section were informed that the Initial Discovery Protocols in Employment Cases are now being used by all the judges in the district.

As such, lawyers and clients should now expect to deal with them in various types of discrimination cases filed in federal court — at least in the District of Connecticut.

You can download the protocols here.

What’s in them? I’ve first covered them way back in 2011, and have followed up with posts in 2012 and 2013 so I’m not going to repeat it verbatim 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.

As an aside, if anyone from the federal court clerk’s office reviews this, how about posting a link to them directly from the “Forms” page instead of under an individual judge’s name? Or put them up on the “Local Rules” page.

The protocols are still tough to find on the website itself other than under Judge Arteron’s page.   A search of “protocols” on the website only shows one reference to them.  In light of the adoption, the protocols should be more readily accessible.

[Updated] – Since my post of this morning, the Clerk’s Office has now updated the Rules and Orders page and posted the following notice. Great work by the court to provide this information:

The Clerk’s Office began entering the Notice re: Discovery Protocols in all civil cases with Nature of Suit codes (442, 445, 710, 720, 790, 791, and 751), for new cases filed on or after 12/1/12 and assigned to Judges Hall, Chatigny, Thompson, Arterton, Underhill, Bryant, Shea and Haight.

These protocols have been endorsed by the Judicial Conference Advisory Committee on Civil Rules and are designed to achieve the goal of more efficient and targeted discovery.

  • Nicole Rothgeb

    Dan – I think some judges send out ECF notifications about the protocols. For instance, when a complaint is first assigned to Judge Hall – an e-notice is sent out which advises counsel (and pro se’s) about the protocols. There is a form that must be filled out and filed within 7 days of that notice if the case falls into one of the few exceptions where the protocols are not used. Once those 7 days go by, assuming no form is filed, another e-notice is issued by the court – this one attaching the protocols.