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Ulysses Tied To The Generic Whipping Post: The Continuing Odyssey Of Discovery "Reform", Jeffrey W. Stempel Jan 2001

Ulysses Tied To The Generic Whipping Post: The Continuing Odyssey Of Discovery "Reform", Jeffrey W. Stempel

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One need not be a charter member of the Critical Legal Studies Movement (“CLS”) to see a few fundamental contradictions in litigation practice in the United States. A prominent philosophical tenet of the CLS movement is that law and society are gripped by a “fundamental contradiction” and simultaneously seek to embrace contradictory objectives. Civil litigation, particularly discovery, is no exception: New amendments to the discovery rules are the latest example of this contradiction. Although the new changes are not drastic, they continue the post-1976 pattern of making discovery the convenient scapegoat for generalized complaints about the dispute resolution system. One ...


Politics And Sociology In Federal Civil Rulemaking: Errors Of Scope, Jeffrey W. Stempel Jan 2001

Politics And Sociology In Federal Civil Rulemaking: Errors Of Scope, Jeffrey W. Stempel

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In April 2000 the United States Supreme Court promulgated a package of Proposed Amendments to the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure that took effect on December 1, 2000, without Congressional intervention. As one commentator observed, “(a)ll of (the proposed amendments) promise to have a significant effect on discovery practice.” One Proposed Amendment--narrowing the scope of discovery available pursuant to Rule 26(b)(1)--was particularly controversial before both the Advisory Committee, the Standing Committee, and the Judicial Conference. Nonetheless, the Proposed Amended Rule narrowing scope proceeded from the Court to finality with no intervention by Congress. Proponents of the ...


Identifying Real Dichotomies Underlying The False Dichotomy: Twenty-First Century Mediation In An Eclectic Regime, Jeffrey W. Stempel Jan 2000

Identifying Real Dichotomies Underlying The False Dichotomy: Twenty-First Century Mediation In An Eclectic Regime, Jeffrey W. Stempel

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Some people (lawyers, scholars, judges, dispute resolvers, policymakers) are more concerned about fidelity to procedural protocols while others are more concerned with the substantive rules governing disputes and substantive outcomes. Those in the dispute resolution community preferring facilitation tend to be proceduralists. For them, the observance of proper procedure is a high goal, perhaps the dominant goal. They reason, often implicitly, that adherence to the rules of procedure is the essence of neutrality, fairness, and the proper role of a dispute resolving apparatus. At some level, usually subconscious, there is a post-modern philosophical aspect of this preference. Because humans cannot ...


Halting Devolution Or Bleak To The Future? Subrin's New-Old Procedure As A Possible Antidote To Dreyfuss's "Tolstoy Problem", Jeffrey W. Stempel Jan 1994

Halting Devolution Or Bleak To The Future? Subrin's New-Old Procedure As A Possible Antidote To Dreyfuss's "Tolstoy Problem", Jeffrey W. Stempel

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Professors Rochelle Dreyfuss and Stephen Subrin first presented their ideas on the 1993 Amendments to the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure (Civil Rules) at the 1994 Annual Meeting of the Association of American Law Schools (AALS) in a program titled, “The 1993 Discovery Amendments: Evolution, Revolution, or Devolution?” After the program, I was left with the depressing view that the answer was devolution, which is defined as a “retrograde evolution,” or “degeneration.” Dreyfuss provides a detailed but succinct review of the changes in discovery occasioned by the new rules as well as a vantage point for assessing the social and ...


New Paradigm, Normal Science, Or Crumbling Construct? Trends In Adjudicatory Procedure And Litigation Reform, Jeffrey W. Stempel Jan 1993

New Paradigm, Normal Science, Or Crumbling Construct? Trends In Adjudicatory Procedure And Litigation Reform, Jeffrey W. Stempel

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One aspect of a possible new era is the increasing ad hoc activity of various interest groups, including the bench and the organized bar, primarily pursued through official organizations such as the Judicial Conference, the Federal Judicial Center, the American Bar Association (“ABA”), and the American Law Institute. Traditionally, of course, judges and lawyers have lobbied Congress and state legislatures for litigation change, as demonstrated by the saga of the Rules Enabling Act (“Enabling Act” or “Act”). But, the legal profession's more recent “political” activity regarding litigation reform differs from the traditional model in several ways. First, the participation ...


Sanctions, Symmetry, And Safe Harbors: Limiting Misapplication Of Rule 11 By Harmonizing It With Pre-Verdict Dismissal Devices, Jeffrey W. Stempel Jan 1992

Sanctions, Symmetry, And Safe Harbors: Limiting Misapplication Of Rule 11 By Harmonizing It With Pre-Verdict Dismissal Devices, Jeffrey W. Stempel

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With only a small risk of overstatement, one could say that sanctions in civil litigation exploded during the 1980s, with the 1983 amendment to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 11 acting as the principal catalyst. From 1938 until the 1983 amendment, only two dozen or so cases on Rule 11 were reported, with courts rarely imposing sanctions. Although a few cases were notable by virtue of sanction size, prestige of the firm sanctioned, or publicity attending the underlying case, the legal profession largely regarded Rule 11 as a dead letter. In addition, other sanctions provisions, such as Federal Rule of ...


A Distorted Mirror: The Supreme Court's Shimmering View Of Summary Judgment, Directed Verdict, And The Value Of Adjudication, Jeffrey W. Stempel Jan 1988

A Distorted Mirror: The Supreme Court's Shimmering View Of Summary Judgment, Directed Verdict, And The Value Of Adjudication, Jeffrey W. Stempel

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As almost anyone alive during the past decade knows, this is the era of the ‘litigation explosion,’ or there is at least the perception that a litigation explosion exists. Although all agree that the absolute number of lawsuits has increased in virtually every corner of the state and federal court systems, there exists vigorous debate about whether the increase is unusual in relative or historical terms and even more vigorous debate about whether the absolute increase in cases symbolizes the American concern for fairness and justice or represents a surge in frivolous or trivial disputes needlessly clogging the courts. As ...