March 22, 2021

On March 2, 2021, the Missouri Supreme Court made notable changes to civil discovery practice and ordered that the new rules take effect September 2, 2021.  The changes will bring Missouri’s discovery rules more in line with the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure.  The discovery rules were originally to go into effect in 2019 pursuant to legislative changes (SB 224, which was signed into law), but the Supreme Court didn’t specifically adopt them, leading to confusion among Missouri counsel.  Below are some noteworthy aspects of the changes.  We will have to wait and see how the new rules play out in practice, especially in fast-paced asbestos litigation with numerous parties, and multi day depositions being commonplace.    

Rule 57.01 (Interrogatories):

-A party may only serve only 25 written interrogatories including subparts, unless stipulated by the parties, or ordered by the court, or approved by local rule (e.g. St. Louis City). 

Rule 57.03 (Depositions):

-A party may only conduct 10 depositions, unless stipulated by the parties or with leave of court.

-A deposition shall be limited to one day of seven hours, unless stipulated by the parties or with leave of court. 

-Depositions can be taken remotely or by telephone via stipulation of the parties or by court order.

Rule 58 (Production of Documents):

-The new rules now specifically address electronic discovery, e.g. allowing a party to require production of electronic discovery in native format. 

Rule 59 (Requests for Admission):

-A party may serve only 25 written requests for admission, unless stipulated by the parties or with leave of court. 

Rule 61.01 (Failure to Make Discovery):

-If objections are made to local approved interrogatories or requests for production (per rule 56.01), and overruled, the court may assess sanctions against the objecting party, attorney or law firm. 

A link to the 3/2/21 Order can be found here:  https://images.magnetmail.net/images/clients/MOBAR//attach/1873.pdf

If you have any questions or concerns with the new rules, please don’t hesitate to contact Foley & Mansfield.