To the Members of the Advisory Committee:
Thank you for the opportunity to submit comments concerning possible rule amendments that could be helpful in future national emergencies. I write as the National Employment Lawyers Association’s liaison to the Advisory Committee. This letter contains NELA’s comments. We believe that adoption of these comments could, in general, improve cost and efficiency in discovery and certain court hearings. But, in particular, adoption of these comments would allow cases to continue forward even if the courts were closed due to a national emergency. These suggestions are meant to be neutral, i.e., their adoption should not result in giving advantages to one side.
Our procedure was to examine the existing language in certain rules and propose either new language or commentary. We begin with rules concerning discovery and continue with certain rules concerning hearings, oral arguments and bench trials.
I. Depositions and Subpoenas
Whether during an emergency or in the normal course, Rule 30 allows for depositions to be taken by telephone or video conference. Rules 28, 29 and other parts of Rule 30 should be interpreted to facilitate efficient, less costly and effective depositions by telephone or video conference.
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Rule 28 sets