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Business Litigation: November 2012 Archives

Promoting Efficient Discovery in Arbitration: the ICDR Guidelines Concerning Exchanges of Information

Countries with different legal traditions have vastly dissimilar approaches to discovery and the exchange of information. Whereas common law countries (and the U.S. in particular) favor broad discovery and the production of vast amounts of documents, European and Latin American countries generally disfavor that approach and seek to limit document production. Because of these differences, disputes as to the scope of discovery in international arbitration can be contentious, expensive, and very time-consuming.

Well-Tailored, But Does It Fit?

Do "tailored remedies" always fit? The doctrine of spoliation recognizes that "a party who has negligently or intentionally lost or destroyed evidence known to be relevant for an upcoming legal proceeding should be held accountable for any unfair prejudice that results." Keene v. Brigham & Women's Hosp., Inc., 439 Mass. 223, 234 (2003). Judges should "impose the least severe sanction necessary to remedy the prejudice to the non spoliating party," which provides latitude to impose the sanctions proportionate to the nature of the spoliation. See Keene, 449 Mass. at 235; Fletcher v. Dorchester Mut. Ins. Co., 437 Mass. 544, 550 (2002). To the extent that destroyed evidence merely prejudices, but does not foreclose, another party's ability to prosecute or defend a claim in the litigation, certain evidence may be excluded as a result. Fletcher, 437 Mass. at 550.

Demystifying the Massachusetts Appellate Process

Often attorneys and clients think of the appeals process as an abyss - a long, uncertain process where they wait many months (or years) for a final resolution of their legal case.  Although a typical trip to the Massachusetts Appeals Court is by no means quick, the process is ordinarily not too complicated.

Obtaining Discovery From Massachusetts Witnesses For Use In An Out-of-State Action

It is not uncommon for litigants in proceedings pending outside of Massachusetts to need documents or testimony from witnesses who reside in Massachusetts.  Even when the witness is willing to provide the requested information voluntarily, it is wise to serve a subpoena to minimize the delay if the witness changes his mind and decides not to cooperate.  Indeed, even a "friendly" subpoena carries the threat of contempt sanctions for noncompliance and therefore serves as a powerful deterrent if the witness gets cold feet.  A subpoena also has the advantage of preventing the witness from appearing predisposed to provide evidence favorable to the requesting party as may be the case if the evidence is voluntarily provided.

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