About That No Discovery Proposal


Last month two federal court of appeals judges sucking up to speaking at the Federalist Society Convention advocated no discovery in cases worth less than $500,000. From the Slate article:
Thomas Hardiman, a judge on the 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, made what should have been viewed as a shocking declaration for a federal judge. Hardiman told the crowd at the 2018 Federalist Society Convention: “If I were able to do something unilaterally, I would probably institute a new federal rule that said that all cases worth less than $500,000 will be tried without any discovery.” The audience applauded. A fellow panelist, Judge Amul Thapar of the 6th Circuit, chimed in, “Can I say amen?” Thapar later repeated his endorsement of the idea.
My Take:
Thank god those guys aren’t orthopedic surgeons. “Your knee hurts? I’ve got just the solution. We’ll chop off your leg.”
I doubt they were serious. In a tactic known well to touring musicians and professional wrestlers, this sounds like ‘cheap heat’ playing to the crowd. Ever heard “It’s great to be here tonight in Memphis, Tennessee” (or wherever you saw the show)?
I don’t know who is in the crowd at a Federalist Society Convention. But if it was lawyers and judges, I doubt their cheers were serious either. The judicial system is not known for embracing change.
I know it was not a bunch of insurance company people. The last thing in the world insurance companies want is to roll the dice in a trial where they haven’t been able to evaluate the risks due to insufficient information.
The first problem I see is who and how is it determined that a case is worth less than $500,000? Are we talking the amount the plaintiff is suing for, or the value of the case factoring in possible outcomes?
There are

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