SJC Approves Amendments to Rules of Civil Procedure Addressing Discovery of Electronically Stored Information
The Supreme Judicial Court announces amendments to the Massachusetts Rules of Civil Procedure that address the discovery of electronically stored information (ESI). Rules 16, 26, 34, 37 and 45 have been amended effective January 1, 2014.
The changes were recommended by the Court’s Standing Advisory Committee on the Rules of Civil Procedure in response to the increasing growth of information in electronic form. In drafting the amendments, the committee drew on the 2006 amendments to the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure addressing ESI and the 2007 Uniform Rules relating to the discovery of Electronically Stored Information.
As stated in the Reporter’s Notes, a major focus of the committee was to establish procedures to: deal with ESI early in the litigation; address how to handle ESI that may be inaccessible; address how to handle inadvertently disclosed privileged ESI; and provide protection when ESI is lost through the good faith operation of electronic information systems. The new rules will apply in all courts and proceedings governed by the Massachusetts Rules of Civil Procedure.