Now more than ever, discovery is driving litigation like the tail wags the dog. Aggressive plaintiffs’ attorneys are using discovery as a weapon to drive up defense costs and generate settlement leverage, while aggressive defense attorneys are using discovery disputes to stall cases and generate leverage of their own. This is causing an explosion of costs related to discovery, especially in the context of electronically stored information, where there is an entire cottage industry dedicated to taking a slice of legal defense budgets in the form of document hosting, tagging, and preparation of production. This trend is especially pronounced in insurance coverage and insurance defense litigation, where plaintiffs’ attorneys often try to drive up defense costs as high as possible in order to push insurers into settling.
Due to the rapidly-increasing costs being expended in discovery, the ability to shift a percentage of discovery costs onto the opposing party has never been more important. Insurance companies tend to be especially diligent about keeping records and electronically stored information, which only increases the volume of potential production. This makes cost-shifting particularly important in the insurance context, as it provides a powerful disincentive for requesting parties to engage in “litigation by attrition.”
We all know the long-standing general rule that a party must ordinarily pay its own costs to respond to discovery, but effective December 1, 2015, Rule 26 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure was amended to expressly address cost-shifting in discovery, a practice that has already been employed in many states and federal districts. While this rule-change may not usher in a new era where the requesting party is routinely expected to shoulder a portion of production costs, it coincides with a nationwide judicial trend toward acceptance of the concept of cost-shifting, and provides express authority that may prompt courts to be even more willing to consider cost-shifting orders.
This course, presented by William Murray, a partner and seasoned trial attorney with Gordon & Rees, along with his forward-thinking associate Steven Zakrzewski, provides an overview of the case-law addressing discovery cost-sharing and recent changes to the Federal Rules directly addressing cost-sharing. The presenters give their assessment of development trends in cost-sharing, and also share real-world examples from their own litigation experience and practical tips to assist attendees in setting up and utilizing cost-sharing motions as another element of their litigation arsenals.
I. Explore pre-2016 case-law addressing requests for cost-sharing in discovery
II. Review the recent changes to the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure addressing cost-sharing in discovery, and related changes to the Federal Rules that took effect in the past eight months
III. Assess developing trends in discovery cost-sharing and the likely effects of the recent amendments to the Federal Rules
IV. Gain practical tips and examples to help insurance practitioners assess when and how to seek cost-sharing
Steve Zakrzewski is an associate in the firm’s Insurance practice group at its Hartford office. His practice is focused on representing insurers in coverage disputes, and defending their policy-holders in complex and high exposure cases.
Prior to joining Gordon & Rees, Mr. Zakrzewski worked as a civil litigation associate for a prominent downtown Hartford firm. He regularly defended insurers and policy-holders against actions arising from commercial general liability, homeowners, motor vehicle, liquor liability, employment practices, and real estate title insurance policies. He also has significant experience litigating commercial disputes and defending product liability cases. He has consistently generated positive outcomes for clients in both state and federal court, as well as mediation and arbitration.
Mr. Zakrzewski earned his J.D. from the University of Connecticut School of Law, where he was a Dean’s Scholar and graduated with honors. He served as Executive Editor of the Insurance Law Journal and Coaching and Judging Coordinator of the Mock Trial Society, and was given awards for best oralist and best brief as a competing member of the Moot Court Board. Before attending UConn Law, he earned his undergraduate degree in Accounting from UConn’s School of Business and worked on the audit team for the largest regional accounting firm in New England.
Bill Murray is a partner in the Hartford office. His practice focuses on insurance coverage litigation, professional liability litigation, employment practices liability litigation, and construction liability litigation. His experience includes complex personal injury defense, commercial and residential foreclosure, legal malpractice, discrimination, product liability, lender liability, and secured transaction litigation.
Mr. Murray also has extensive experience representing national corporations in large consumer class actions, complex contract disputes.
Earlier in his legal career, Mr. Murray handled a variety of insurance defense matters and a number of insurance coverage disputes, including those involving coverage disputes for environmental claims.
U.S. Supreme Court
Federal District Court of Connecticut
Federal District Court, District of Massachusetts
American Bar Association
Connecticut Bar Association
Defense Research Institute
J.D., University of Connecticut School of Law, with honors
B.A., College of the Holy Cross
This was one of the more organized and informative presentations. Very helpful.
Excellent program. Well supported with legal authority, good legal analysis and practical advice. Highly recommended.
good speakers, lively discussions
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