Court Admonishes Parties For Failing to Meaningfully Meet and Confer
In yet another opinion demonstrating the importance of meeting and conferring with opposing counsel before approaching the court, the Eastern District of California recently admonished both parties in Morgan Hill Concerned Parents Assoc. v. California Dep’t, No. 2:11-cv-03471-KJM-AC (E.D. Cal., Feb. 9, 2015) after the court ordered the parties to meet and confer regarding ediscovery. After several meetings and fruitless exchanges of letters, the parties had accomplished nothing more than disclosing their technical experts and agreeing that they such would make the experts available to each other. Beyond that, the parties had not resolved a redaction issue the court had ordered them resolve over six months before nor had the technical experts engaged in any detailed discussions regarding ESI collection or production processes or which eDiscovery software they would use.
The judge did not sympathize with the parties’ purported difficulties, stating that the parties appear to have a “continuing inability to engage in a meaningful meet and confer,” and ordered them to hold at least two more in-person meet and confer sessions within the next 21 days, followed by filing a joint report disclosing the type of discovery both parties anticipate producing, an agreed upon schedule for discovery, and any efforts to streamline document productions in accordance with FRCP, among other items. The court also ordered that the report contain a concise summary identifying who attended the two meet and confers, the length of the meetings, any further followup meetings, and describing generally the meeting agendas and efforts to resolve the disputes.
Finally, the court stated that the magistrate judge would not entertain any discovery motions until the parties comply with the district court judge’s order.