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Updated Superior Court Rules for Civil Procedure

August 5, 2020

D.C. promulgated new Superior Court Rules for Civil Procedure.  These rules will take effect on October 12, 2015 and will govern all proceedings filed after that date, as well as all proceedings already pending, to the extent it is fair and practicable.  Many of the changes are minor changes that have no real impact on case handling.  However, two of the rules changed should be noted by all who have cases in the District of Columbia.

Rule 16 – Pretrial Conferences, Pretrial Status Conferences and Scheduling Management

There were several changes in this rule. 

First, with regard to interrogatories, requests for admission, request for production and motions for physical or mental examinations, they must be served 30 days before the date set for the end of discovery.  The rule previously allowed them to be served up to the date set for the end of discovery.  Now it must be served 30 days earlier. 

Similarly for depositions and subpoenas, the notice must be served no less than 5 days before the date for the deposition, and the deposition must occur before the deadline as well.  The prior rule did not say how many days prior to a deposition the notice must be given.

Finally, the deadlines for requirements prior to a pretrial conference have changed.  The new rule requires that at least  four weeks prior to the pretrial conference, the attorneys and any unrepresented parties must meet in person to discuss issues. (Previously the meeting occurred 3 weeks prior to the pretrial.)  The new rule requires motions in limine and other pretrial motions to be filed 3 weeks prior to the pretrial conference.

Rule 26– Duty to Disclose; General Provisions Governing Discovery 

The major changes in this rule revolve around experts and disclosures of experts.  Previously, the District of Columbia Superior Court did not require full production of written reports at the time the experts were disclosed.  Now, a written report is required for any expert expected to testify.  This report must be disclosed at the same time the expert is designated.  This rule brings Superior Court disclosure requirements more in line with the current federal court requirements regarding expert disclosures.

In addition, the duty to disclose requires a party to disclose the exact nature of any items claimed privileged with an express claim of privilege. 

This disclosure provides the other party adequate information to assess the privilege claim.