On Thompson Coburn’s site (What you need to know about Missouri’s updated discovery rules), the author notes that Missouri Governor Mike Parson signed into law Senate Bill 224, which limit the scope of discovery and address electronically stored information (ESI) for the first time.
Changes attempt to bring Missouri’s discovery rules closer to the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure (FRCP) through:
- Scope of discovery and proportionality: Missouri’s amended Rule 56.01(b)(1) will now limit the scope of discovery to information that is not only relevant but “proportional to the needs of the case.” This language mirrors the language of FRCP 26.
- Electronically stored information: Rules 56.01(b)(3) and 58.01 now expressly permit discovery of ESI and permit a party to request that ESI be produced in native format. However, a responding party is not required to produce ESI that is not reasonably accessible because of undue burden or cost. A court may nonetheless order the ESI produced if the requesting party shows good cause.
- Protection of privileged or work product material: Rule 56.01(b)(9) provides a procedure for clawing back information produced in discovery that is subject to a claim of attorney-client privilege or work-product protection. If the producing party gives notice, the receiving party must promptly return, sequester, or destroy the specified information. An attorney receiving what he or she reasonably believes to be privileged or protected information must stop reading the document, promptly notify the involved attorney, return the document, and delete it. Production of privileged or work-product protected information, whether inadvertent or otherwise, will not be a waiver of the privilege.