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In the last few issues we have been covering changes in state laws. We now return to the federal arena to examine amendments that will profoundly affect the way litigation is done. Since most states use the federal rules as a model, these changes will probably soon show up at the state level.
On December 1, as part of the broadest set of changes since 1993, District Courts lose the right to use local rules to opt out of the federal discovery and disclosure procedures, restrictions are made to what needs to be disclosed or what can be discovered, limits are set on the lengths of depositions as well as many other amendments.
New Evidence Rules go into effect at the same time. One of the biggest changes is incorporating the Daubert and Kumho decisions into Rules 701, 702 and 703. Other changes deal with challenges to evidentiary rulings (Rule 103), admissibility of character evidence (Rule 404) and allowing for the self-certification of business records (Rules 803 and 902).
Finally, we will take a look at upcoming proposed changes to take place in 2001 and 2002 affecting electronic service, preemption of Copyright Rules and financial disclosure. If you want to take part in the rules-making process, some of these rules are still open for comment till 1/15/01.
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