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Williamson County Local Rule Changes Reflect Firm Input

Last year, the judges in Williamson County requested comments from members of the bar on proposed revisions to the Local Rules, including Local Rule Section 5.04.  At the time, the proposed revised Section 5.04 provided:
 
"The Court will refuse to rule on any motion related to discovery, including a motion to compel for failure to timely respond, unless the motion contains a statement which certifies the lawyer for the moving party, or the moving party when said party is self-represented, has conferred with opposing counsel, or party, in a good faith effort to resolve the discovery dispute and that the effort has not been successful."
 
Among other things, we relayed our experience in a recent case where an adversary purported to comply with 5.04 by use of a simple certificate merely reciting one phone call in an attempt to resolve a discovery dispute.  In reality, we did not think this complied with the purpose behind the rule, citing Shuffle Master, Inc. v. Progressive Games, Inc., 170 F.R.D. 166, 171 (D. Nev. 1996) (“[I]n order to effectuate the underlying policy of the federal rule, a moving party must include more than a cursory recitation that counsel have been ‘unable to resolve the matter.’ Counsel seeking court-facilitated discovery, instead, must adequately set forth in the motion essential facts sufficient to enable the court to pass a preliminary judgment on the adequacy and sincerity of the good faith conferment between the parties.”)
 
Subsequently, this year's version of the proposed revised Section 5.04 provides:
 
"The Court will refuse to rule on any motion related to discovery, including a motion to compel for failure to timely respond, unless the motion contains a statement which certifies the lawyer for the moving party, or the moving party when said party is self-represented, has conferred with opposing counsel, or party, in a good faith effort to resolve the matters alleged in the motion and that the effort has not been successful. Such good faith effort shall, at a minimum, be evidenced by a writing from the moving party to the non-moving party describing the alleged deficiencies in discovery." (emphasis added)
 
We think this most recent change better reflects the objectives of Shuffle Master, Inc. and the Tennessee Rules of Civil Procedure as a whole regarding good faith resolution of discovery disputes, and fully support making the change.  What do you think?