Effective May 1, the Delaware Superior Court has a new division to handle complex commercial litigation. And with the new division comes a new set of guidelines for handling e-discovery.
Delaware’s new Complex Commercial Litigation Division will hear any case in which the amount in controversy is $1 million or more. Excluded are cases involving personal injuries, mortgage foreclosures mechanics’ liens, condemnations, and various family matters.
In conjunction with the new court come new e-discovery guidelines to govern electronically stored information. The guidelines require that the parties hold a meet-and-confer session no later than 21 days before the first scheduling conference. It directs that they discuss:
- Any issues related to preservation of ESI.
- The form in which ESI will be produced.
- The scope of production.
- The method of asserting and preserving privilege claims.
- The method of asserting and preserving confidential and proprietary information.
- Any allocation of expenses related to preservation and production.
After the meet-and-confer, the parties must file an e-discovery plan with the court. Based on the plan, the court is to enter an order governing e-discovery.
The guidelines provide for parties to object to e-discovery based on undue burden or expense. The court is also authorized to limit the frequency or extent of ESI discovery. The guidelines include a safe harbor for documents not covered by the discovery order.