The U.S. Judicial Conference Advisory Committee on Civil Rules and the Committee on Rules of Practice and Procedure have submitted a report to Chief Justice John Roberts summarizing the discussions of judges, lawyers and academics at Duke University School of Law in May 2010, on ways to improve federal civil litigation. Among other matters, the report concludes that meaningful improvements cannot come from revising the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure alone, particularly in light of disagreements over how to improve them. According to the report, the rules are only as effective as they are implemented, and to that end, what is also needed is “judicial education, legal education, and support provided by the development of materials to facilitate implementing more efficient and effective procedures.” The report recommends “sustained, hands-on judicial case management.”
The rules committees have identified as priorities for further attention “discovery in complex or highly contested cases, including preservation and spoliation of electronically stored information,” as well as a “review of pleading standards in light of the recent Supreme Court cases.” The report notes that the “Advisory Committee has initiated work in these areas” and that rules committees have begun addressing the issues.