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In Re Convergent Technologies Securities Litigation

    Brief Fact Summary. Parties were unable to agree on the propriety of certain
    interrogatories, so they sought judicial oversight and relief.

    Synopsis of Rule of Law. The pretrial discovery process should be executed by the
    individual parties and should have minimal judicial intervention.


    Facts. A discovery dispute ensued over when to serve the answers to contention
    interrogatories. This discovery dispute between counsel cost the clients over $40,000.
    Defendants served more than 1,000 questions. Many of these questions sought facts,
    which Plaintiffs contended supported certain allegations about what Defendants had done
    in violation of securities law. The parties sought judicial oversight and relief to determine
    when certain interrogatories should be answered.

    Issue. When should Plaintiffs answer contention interrogatories served by Defendants?

    Held. Plaintiffs are excused from responding to the contention interrogatories until the
    parties had completed a substantial amount of discovery, specifically document
    inspection.

    The spirit of Rule 26 and Rule 1 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure
    have been violated. Strong evidence exists in this case that there was a
    breakdown of what is supposed to be a self-executing system of pretrial
    discovery under Rule 26. Rule 1, which was also violated, declares that
    the purpose of Federal Rules of Civil Procedure is to secure the just,
    speedy and inexpensive determination of every action. Amendments to
    Rule 26 require good faith and common sense on the part of counsel. In
    other words, counsel must ask themselves what information they need to
    know and what the most effective way of getting it.


    Discussion. The purpose of discovery is to avoid surprise and delay, to go to trial with
    the best evidence available to prove the party’s contentions, and with knowledge of the
    adversary’s presentation of the case.


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