Robin C. Gibbs 2018-01-04 19:55:24
An Invaluable Resource for Federal Practitioners The American Bar Association’s treatise on Business and Commercial Litigation in the Federal Courts (Thomson Reuters, 2016-2017), recently reissued in its fourth edition, offers a worthy update to the series. Helmed by Kelly Drye & Warren partner Robert L. Haig, the fourth edition consolidates the collective experience of almost 300 principal authors representing a virtual “who’s who” of the commercial litigation bar, including 27 judges. In scope, the treatise covers an expansive field of substantive, procedural, and strategic issues that might arise in federal courts. Federal court practitioners are probably familiar with the treatise’s unique, nationwide focus on commercial litigation. It first appeared in 1998, and has earned a place as a staple reference work due to its comprehensive treatment of business litigation in federal courts. The treatise addresses virtually every aspect of federal court practice in the context of commercial litigation, including personal jurisdictional questions, procedural rules, numerous areas of substantive law, and strategic considerations related to all stages of the litigation process as well as client relations. Prior to the release of the fourth edition, developments in the law—including major revisions to the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure—necessitated more than 2,500 pages of pocket part revisions to the treatise. The new edition incorporates those updates and adds 25 new chapters on issues of growing importance in the federal courts, including procedural chapters associated with such topics as cross-border litigation, alternative dispute resolution, the explosive growth of social media, and substantive discussions related to health care institutions, telephone consumer protection, mass torts, and many other topics. An interesting example of the treatise’s expanded scope addresses a topic that rarely appears in legal reference materials, despite having implications of significance to nearly every person who practices in federal courts. Craig Stewart and Gregory Goldberg’s thoughtful chapter on civil justice reform focuses on structural inefficiencies that have long frustrated judges, lawyers, and undoubtedly their clients, and which sometimes bar the courthouse door to parties for reasons that have nothing to do with the merits of their position. The new chapter notes that “[d]ispute resolution in many civil matters depends more on the cost, complexity, and timing of discovery than it does on a court’s or a jury’s eventual adjudication of the merits of a claim or defense.” These procedural dynamics include an “all you can eat” model of discovery and the exponential growth of electronically stored information that incentivizes limitless discovery, sometimes without reference to proportionality and the importance of the relevant issues. In the authors’ view, these dynamics outpaced the evolution of responsive procedural rules. Stewart and Goldberg therefore welcome new requirements for enhanced attorney cooperation and judicial involvement in the early stages of federal litigation required by the 2015 updates to federal rules. In particular, they identify the rules’ new emphasis on proportionality in discovery as a positive force for reform and look forward to the development of judicial guidelines to implement those rules. The chapter likewise identifies several initiatives specific to individual federal jurisdictions and others that have gained some traction in the states but have not yet found a home in federal courts. Federal initiatives include an ongoing project in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas to encourage “pattern discovery” in employment cases and pilot projects designed to streamline the exchange of information in Colorado, Massachusetts, and Delaware. These and numerous other updates confirm the treatise’s place as an invaluable resource for federal practitioners. In addition to substantially updated content, the fourth edition includes a newly revised appendix and index, along with tables of all laws, rules, and cases discussed in the work. Collectively, the fourth edition stands as an expansive, user-friendly successor to past editions of the treatise and a valuable resource for the federal commercial practitioner. ROBIN C. GIBBS is an internationally recognized trial lawyer with more than 45 years of experience handling commercial litigation matters, including as a founding partner of Gibbs & Bruns.
Published by State Bar of Texas. View All Articles.
This page can be found at http://mydigimag.rrd.com/article/Books/2967516/463027/article.html.