Saturday, September 04, 2010

Rule 26(e) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure: Production of Images After Discovery Cut-Off Ok'd

In Teter v. Glass Onion, Inc, 2010 WL 2945520 (W.D. Mo. July 22, 2010), the court considered a motion pursuant to Rule 37(c) of the Federal Rules of Procedure to exclude from evidence images culled from the internet and Internet Archive after the discovery cutoff.

Rule 26(e) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure provides:

(e) Supplementation of Disclosures and Responses.

(1) In General.
A party who has made a disclosure under Rule 26(a) — or who has responded to an interrogatory, request for production, or request for admission — must supplement or correct its disclosure or response:
(A) in a timely manner if the party learns that in some material respect the disclosure or response is incomplete or incorrect, and if the additional or corrective information has not otherwise been made known to the other parties during the discovery process or in writing; or
(B) as ordered by the court.

 In Teter, the plaintiff requested all documents that were to be used at trial during a formal discovery request.
Rule 37(c) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure provides:
(c) Failure to Disclose; to Supplement an Earlier Response, or to Admit.

(1) Failure to Disclose or Supplement.
If a party fails to provide information or identify a witness as required by Rule 26(a) or 26(e), the party is not allowed to use that information or witness to supply evidence on a motion, at a hearing, or at a trial, unless the failure was substantially justified or is harmless. In addition to or instead of this sanction, the court, on motion and after giving an opportunity to be heard:
(A) may order payment of the reasonable expenses, including attorney's fees, caused by the failure;
(B) may inform the jury of the party's failure; and
(C) may impose other appropriate sanctions, including any of the orders listed in Rule 37(b)(2)(A)(i)-(vi).

[ * * * ]

In this case, the materials were provided 20 days after the close of discovery.  The court found that the images were publicly available to both sides from a public domain source, the adversary could not possibly be prejudiced.

I cover Discovery in Chapter 14 of the Copyright Litigation Handbook.  Not every judge takes Teter's common-sense view.   And Teter should not be seen as a free pass from a discovery cut-off.   When discovery has already been produced and new materials come in, scan the new materials, privilege review/redact/log them, and get them out right away with a cover letter saying you are supplementing pursuant to Rule 26(e).  Not every judge will permit documents produced after a discovery cutoff to be used in a trial.  

Purchase Copyright Litigation Handbook from West here  

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