Federal District Courts have the authority to make "case-specific orders" deferring initial disclosures. That authority has always existed, and a federal court has the discretionary power to stay initial disclosures pending resolutions of motions to dismiss, depending on the defendant's evidentiary showings.
Plaintiff sued defendant in federal court, alleging that the defendant conducted mining activities that harmed the environment for over 40 years. Under FRCP 26, the parties are required to provide the Court with a combined Discovery Plan. Under FRCP 26, the parties are required to make initial disclosures regarding discovery. The parties agreed to delay these initial disclosures regarding the following: the identity of individuals possessing discoverable information, the production of evidence, and the amount of damages Plaintiff claimed. However, the parties disagreed on waiving the disclosure of any applicable insurances policies. Defendant argued that the disclosure of insurance policies over a 40-year period involved an undue burden and expense that may not be necessary if Defendant’s dispositive motion was granted.
Is a Federal Judge required to force a party to make an initial disclosure, under a federal rule, if the opposing party refuses to waive it.
In reaching its ruling, the Court held that it is within a court's discretion or not to require a party to make an initial disclosure. Though the initial disclosure may have been required, the court had discretion to delay the defendant's required disclosure if the defendant raided a motion that could make the disclosure unnecessary. In this case, defendant’s motion was pending before the court. If the court granted Defendant’s motion, the case will be dismissed. Therefore, it is unnecessary for the court to require Defendant to provide any applicable insurance policies until the court rules on the pending motion. Defendant’s objection was sustained.