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Are Discovery Disputes in Bankruptcy Court Subject to FRCP?

Posted on June 20th, 2018

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In Caesars Entertainment Operating Co., Inc., (United States Bankruptcy Court, N.D. Illinois, Eastern Division) (May 29, 2018) Caesars is asking for bankruptcy protections. However, during the course of organizing creditors, two parties are claiming ownership of a particular liability. Now, the United States Bankruptcy Court for the Northern District of Illinois has ruled on parts of these discovery disputes.

Whitebox Advisors, LLX (Whitebox) claims that Earl of Sandwich (Earl) sold its $3.6 million claim against Caesars to the other company. To determine the true holder of the claim, a hearing that included a discovery process governed by FRCP rules 26, 30, 34 and 37 was enacted. As requests for documents were filed, both parties filed motions objecting to the document requests.

The court took issue with many of the requests made. Finding that request from Whitebox that stated document requests were unduly burdensome or were overboard did not have sufficient specificity. These objections resulted in waivers.

Additionally, the court found that Whitebox failed to properly assert other objections on the grounds of relevance. The objections in question were raised during pleadings and discussions with the opposing party. The court found that these objections should have been made in Whitebox’s response to a Request for Production. In light of this, the court also waived these objections as outside the procedures set forth in the FRCP.

The court also found that not serving a privilege log amounted to the “non-assertion of privilege” constituting another waiver.

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