What is a Rule 26 Discovery Conference in Minnesota Court Cases?

April 13, 2020


Parties to a Minnesota lawsuit must have a Rule 26 discovery conference, which is often done by phone, to discuss how they will handle the discovery and evidence in their lawsuit. The requirements for this are found in Rule 26.06 of the Minnesota Rules of Civil Procedure.

When must a Rule 26 discovery conference be done?

Parties must have a discovery conference “within 30 days from the initial due date for an answer.” Minn. R. Civ. P. 26.06(a).

What must be discussed in a Rule 26 discovery conference?

In a Rule 26 discovery conference, the parties must

  1. consider the nature and basis of their claims,
  2. consider the nature and basis of their defenses,
  3. consider the possibilities for promptly settling or resolving the case,
  4. make or arrange for the disclosures required by Rule 26.01(a) and (b),
  5. discuss any issues about preserving discoverable information, and
  6. develop a proposed discovery plan.

Minn. R. Civ. P. Rule 26.06.

Who is responsible to plan the Rule 26 discovery conference?

Everyone. The attorneys of record and all self-represented litigants that have appeared in the case are jointly responsible for arranging the conference, and for attempting in good faith to agree on the proposed discovery plan. Minn. R. Civ. P. 26.06(b).

What must be done after the Rule 26 discovery conference?

The parties must file a written discovery plan with the court within 14 days after the conference or at the time the action is filed, whichever is later. Minn. R. Civ. P. 26.06(b).

What must be in the Rule 26 discovery plan filed with the court?

A discovery plan must state the parties’ views and proposals on:

  1. what changes should be made in the timing, form, or requirement for disclosures under Rule 26.01, including a statement of when initial disclosures were made or will be made;
  2. the subjects on which discovery may be needed, when discovery should be completed, and whether discovery should be conducted in phases or be limited to or focused on particular issues;
  3. any issues about disclosure, discovery, or preservation of electronically stored information, including the form or forms in which it should be produced;
  4. any issues about claims of privilege or of protection as trial-preparation materials, including – if the parties agree on a procedure to assert these claims after production – whether to ask the court to include their agreement in an order;
  5. what changes should be made in the limitations on discovery imposed under these rules or by local rule, and what other limitations should be imposed; and
  6. any other orders that the court should issue under Rule 26.03 or under Rule 16.02 and 16.03.

Minn. R. Civ. P. 26.06(c).

What else must I do?

In general, you need to provide to the other parties in your case the following:

(A) the name and, if known, the address and telephone number of each individual likely to have discoverable information – along with the subjects of that information – that the disclosing party may use to support its claims or defenses, unless the use would be solely for impeachment;

(B) a copy – or a description by category and location – of all documents, electronically stored information, and tangible things that the disclosing party has in its possession, custody, or control and may use to support its claims or defenses, unless the use would be solely for impeachment;

(C) a computation of each category of damages claimed by the disclosing party – who must also make available for inspection and copying as under Rule 34 the documents or other evidentiary material, unless privileged or protected from disclosure, on which each computation is based, including materials bearing on the nature and extent of injuries suffered; and

(D) for inspection and copying as under Rule 34, any insurance agreement under which an insurance business may be liable to satisfy all or part of a possible judgment in the action or to indemnify or reimburse for payments made to satisfy the judgment.

Minn. R. Civ. P. 26.01(a). However, these Rule 26.01(a) disclosures are not required (unless ordered by a court) for the following cases:

(A) an action for review on an administrative record; (B) a forfeiture action in rem arising from a state statute; (C) a petition for habeas corpus or any other proceeding to challenge a criminal conviction or sentence; (D) an action brought without an attorney by a person in the custody of the United States, a state, or a state subdivision; (E) an action to enforce or quash an administrative summons or subpoena; (F) a proceeding ancillary to a proceeding in another court; (G) an action to enforce an arbitration award; (H) family court actions under Minn. Gen. R. Prac. 301-378; (I) Torrens actions; (J) conciliation court appeals; (K) forfeitures; (L) removals from housing court to district court; (M) harassment proceedings; (N) name change proceedings; (O) default judgments; (P) actions to either docket a foreign judgment or re-docket a judgment within the district; (Q) appointment of trustee; (R) condemnation appeal; (S) confession of judgment; (T) implied consent; (U) restitution judgment; and (V) tax court filings.

 

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