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Skip to Navigation to Main Content:: E-Discovery Ė Commission Adopts Final Rules

The U.S. International Trade Commission has adopted final rules related to its e-discovery practices. The new rules and practices are described in a Federal Register notice issued on May 15, 2013. The new rules will be effective 30 days after publication in the Federal Register and are applicable to investigations instituted 30 days after publication in the Federal Register.

E-discovery -- the production of electronic records, such as e-mail, in a legal proceeding -- has become expensive and time-consuming for parties involved in litigation before courts and in section 337 investigations before the USITC. Yet, many times only a small percentage of electronically stored information produced in discovery ultimately is admitted into evidence.

The Commissionís new e-discovery rules help ensure that parties more tightly focus their e-discovery requests and responses, which is intended to:

  • cut costs for parties in section 337 investigations;
  • lessen discovery-related burdens for parties;
  • reduce the number of discovery-related disputes;
  • result in fewer discovery motions before the Administrative Law Judges; and
  • enhance the timely resolution of section 337 investigations.

These rule changes preserve the rights of the parties to full and fair discovery of relevant non-privileged information while reining in excessive and burdensome discovery.

The Commissionís rule changes are part of a package of actions it is taking to address e-discovery and case management concerns. Other elements include:

  • a pilot case management program;
  • development of a USITC model Administrative Protective Order (APO), which includes a source code provision; and
  • a metadata provision for recommended incorporation in ALJ ground rules.

For more background, view earlier articles on the Commissionís rule-making process and other e-discovery issues.