Attorneys Making Boilerplate Objections are Breaking the Rules: eDiscovery Best Practices

But you probably already knew that, right?  Why, then, are so many attorneys still using them?  This recent article from Forensic Discovery discusses what the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure (FRCP) require, what one recent judge said about boilerplate objections and a terrific example of a party submitting an objection with specificity, and a compromise offering to boot.

Their article Boilerplate eDiscovery Objections Might Make Your Judge’s Blood Boil discusses the December 2015 changes to FRCP Rule 34(b)(2)(B) and Rule 34(b)(2)(C), which are as follows (emphasis added):

(B) Responding to Each Item. For each item or category, the response must either state that inspection and related activities will be permitted as requested or state with specificity the grounds for objecting to the request, including the reasons. The responding party may state that it will produce copies of documents or of electronically stored information instead of permitting inspection. The production must then be completed no later than the time for inspection specified in the request or another reasonable time specified in the response.

(C) Objections. An objection must state whether any responsive materials are being withheld on the basis of that objection. An objection to part of a request must specify the part and permit inspection of the rest.

The article also provides an example of how judges respond to boilerplate objections these days, using one of my favorite judges – Illinois Magistrate Judge Jeffrey Cole.  That’s just one of seven cases that I’ve covered in the past sixteen months where boilerplate objections were used (the others are here, here, here, here, here and here).  And, of course, judges have been “objecting” (see what I did there?  😉 ) to boilerplate objections since the Rules changes were passed, as Judge Peck has reminded us in several case law webinars about his Fischer v. Forrest ruling back in 2017.  Parties have been warned time and time again that boilerplate objections are no longer acceptable, but now judges have stopped warning them and started waiving the objections outright.

So, how did one party submit their objection with specificity?  And what should you do to make sure you can do so and adhere to the Rules? Check out their article here to find that out – and more.  You won’t object to this terrific advice!

So, what do you think?  Have you recently been involved in a case where boilerplate objections were used?  Please share any comments you might have or if you’d like to know more about a particular topic.

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Disclaimer: The views represented herein are exclusively the views of the author, and do not necessarily represent the views held by my employer, my partners or my clients. eDiscovery Today is made available solely for educational purposes to provide general information about general eDiscovery principles and not to provide specific legal advice applicable to any particular circumstance. eDiscovery Today should not be used as a substitute for competent legal advice from a lawyer you have retained and who has agreed to represent you.

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