Are Big Changes Coming To How Michigan’s State Courts Conduct Discovery?

In the fall of 2017, a special committee convened by the State Bar of Michigan released a report and draft of proposed rule changes to the Michigan Court Rules regarding discovery in civil actions.  The Committee was asked: “in light of the issues surrounding discovery in civil litigation, should the Michigan Court Rules be revised and how?”  The Committee’s response was that the Michigan Court Rules regarding discovery are in need of substantial changes to address issues related to the undue burden on the parties and attorneys, which leads to cost ineffectiveness and can then impede access to justice for citizens.

The Committee not only identified these issues, it further proposed specific rule revisions to address these issues and set forth a draft rule proposal to accomplish these changes.  The draft rules borrow not only from the most recent revisions to the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure governing discovery, but also from several different states that have recently reformed their discovery rules.

The entirety of the committee’s report and the proposed draft new rules can be found by clicking here.

While the process for actually amending the Michigan Court Rules (which must begin with the publication of notice by the Michigan Supreme Court) has not been initiated, and while the process itself will require time and allow for the input of attorneys, judges, and all other stakeholders affected by the proposed changes, the drumbeat of change is sounding.  Given that the federal court system has recently undergone substantial changes to the civil discovery system, similar significant changes at the state level are not hard to imagine.