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Rule 26. General Provisions Governing Discovery; Duty of Disclosure.
(a) Required Disclosures; Methods to Discover Additional Matter. Disclosure under subparagraphs (a)(1), (2), and (3) of this rule is required in all civil actions, except those categories of cases exempted from the requirement of scheduling conferences and scheduling orders under Civil Rule 16(g), adoption proceedings, and prisoner litigation against the state under AS 09.19.
(1) Initial Disclosures. Except to the extent otherwise directed by order or rule, a party shall, without awaiting a discovery request, provide to other parties:
(A) the factual basis of each of its claims or defenses;
(B) the name and, if known, the address and telephone number of each individual likely to have discoverable information relevant to disputed facts alleged with particularity in the pleadings, identifying the subjects of the information and whether the attorney-client privilege applies;
(C) the name and, if known, the address and telephone number of each individual who has made a written or recorded statement and, unless the statement is privileged or otherwise protected from disclosure, either a copy of the statement or the name and, if known, the address and telephone number of the custodian;
(D) subject to the provisions of Civil Rule 26(b)(3), a copy of, or a description by category and location of, all documents, data compilations, and tangible things that are relevant to disputed facts alleged with particularity in the pleadings;
(E) subject to the provisions of Civil Rule 26(b)(3), all photographs, diagrams, and videotapes of persons, objects, scenes and occurrences that are relevant to disputed facts alleged with particularity in the pleadings;
(F) each insurance agreement under which any person carrying on an insurance business may be liable to satisfy part or all of a judgment which may be entered in the action or to indemnify or reimburse for payments made to satisfy the judgment; and
(G) all categories of damages claimed by the disclosing party, and a computation of each category of special damages, making available for inspection and copying as under Rule 34 the documents or other evidentiary material, not privileged or protected from disclosure, on which such claims are based, including materials bearing on the nature and extent of injuries suffered.
Unless otherwise directed by the court, these disclosures shall be made at or within 10 days after the meeting of the parties under paragraph (f). A party shall make its initial disclosures based on the information then reasonably available to it and is not excused from making its disclosures because it has not fully completed its investigation of the case or because it challenges the sufficiency of another party's disclosures or because another party has not made its disclosures.
(2) Disclosure of Expert Testimony.
(A) In addition to the disclosures required by subparagraph (a)(1), a party shall disclose to other parties the identity of any person who may be used at trial to present evidence under Evidence Rules 702, 703, or 705.
(B) Except as otherwise stipulated or directed by the court, this disclosure shall, with respect to a witness who is retained or specially employed to provide expert testimony in the case or whose duties as an employee of the party regularly involve giving expert testimony, be accompanied by a written report prepared and signed by the witness. The report shall contain a complete statement of all opinions to be expressed and the basis and reasons therefor; the data or other information considered by the witness in forming the opinions; any exhibits to be used as a summary of or support for the opinions; the qualifications of the witness, including a list of all publications authored by the witness within the preceding ten years; the compensation to be paid for the study and testimony; and a listing of any other cases in which the witness has testified as an expert at trial or by deposition within the preceding four years.
(C) These disclosures shall be made at the times and in the sequence directed by the court. The parties shall supplement these disclosures when required under subparagraph (e)(1).
(D) No more than three independent expert witness may testify for each side as to the same issue in any given case. For purposes of this rule, an independent expert is an expert from whom a report is required under section (a)(2)(B). The court, upon the showing of good cause, may increase or decrease the number of independent experts to be called.
(3) Pretrial Disclosures. In addition to the disclosures required in the preceding paragraphs, a party shall provide to other parties the following information regarding the evidence that it may present at trial other than solely for impeachment purposes:
(A) the name and, if not previously provided, the address and telephone number of each witness, separately identifying those whom the party expects to present and those whom the party may call if the need arises;
(B) the designation of those witnesses whose testimony is expected to be presented by means of a deposition and, if not taken stenographically, a transcript of the pertinent portions of the deposition testimony; and
(C) an appropriate identification of each document or other exhibit, including summaries of other evidence, separately identifying those which the party expects to offer and those which the party may offer if the need arises.
These disclosures shall be made at the times and in the sequence directed by the court. Within 14 days thereafter, unless a different time is specified by the court, a party may serve and file a list disclosing (i) any objections to the use under Rule 32(a) of a deposition designated by another party under subparagraph (B), and (ii) any objection, together with the grounds therefor, that may be made to the admissibility of materials identified under subparagraph (C). Objections not so disclosed, other than objections under Rules 402 and 403 of the Rules of Evidence, shall be deemed waived unless excused by the court for good cause shown.
(4) Form of Disclosures. Unless otherwise directed by the court, all disclosures under subparagraphs (a)(1) and (2) shall be made in writing, signed, and served in accordance with Rule 5.
(5) Methods to Discover Additional Matter. Parties may obtain discovery by one or more of the following methods: depositions upon oral examination or written questions; written interrogatories; production of documents or things or permission to enter upon land or other property, for inspection and other purposes; physical and mental examinations; and requests for admission.
(b) Discovery Scope and Limits. Unless otherwise limited by order of the court in accordance with these rules, the scope of discovery is as follows:
(1) In General. Parties may obtain discovery regarding any matter, not privileged which is relevant to the subject matter involved in the pending action, whether it relates to the claim or defense of the party seeking discovery or to the claim or defense of any other party, including the existence, description, nature, custody, condition and location of any books, documents, or other tangible things and the identity and location of persons having knowledge of any discoverable matter. The information sought need not be admissible at the trial if the information sought appears reasonably calculated to lead to the discovery of admissible evidence.
(2) Limitations. The court may alter the limits in these rules on the number of depositions and interrogatories, the length of depositions under Rule 30, and the number of requests under Rule 36. The frequency or extent of use of the discovery methods otherwise permitted under these rules shall be limited by the court if it determines that: (i) the discovery sought is unreasonably cumulative or duplicative, or is obtainable from some other source that is more convenient, less burdensome, or less expensive; (ii) the party seeking discovery has had ample opportunity by discovery in the action to obtain the information sought; or (iii) the burden or expense of the proposed discovery outweighs its likely benefit, taking into account the needs of the case, the amount in controversy, the parties' resources, the importance of the issues at stake in the litigation, and the importance of the proposed discovery in resolving the issues. The court may act upon its own initiative after reasonable notice or pursuant to a motion under paragraph (c).
(3) Trial Preparation: Materials. Subject to the provisions of subparagraph (b)(4) of this rule, a party may obtain discovery of documents and tangible things otherwise discoverable under subparagraph (b)(1) of this rule and prepared in anticipation of litigation or for trial by or for another party or by or for that other party's representative (including the other party's attorney, consultant, surety, indemnitor, insurer, or agent) only upon a showing that the party seeking discovery has substantial need of the materials in the preparation of the party's case and that the party is unable without undue hardship to obtain the substantial equivalent of the materials by other means. In ordering discovery of such materials when the required showing has been made, the court shall protect against disclosure of the mental impressions, conclusions, opinions or legal theories of an attorney or other representative of a party concerning the litigation.
A party may obtain without the required showing a statement concerning the action or its subject matter previously made by that party. Upon request, a person not a party may obtain without the required showing a statement concerning the action or its subject matter previously made by that person. If the request is refused, the person may move for a court order. The provisions of Rule 37(a) (4) apply to the award of expenses incurred in relation to the motion. For purposes of this paragraph, a statement previously made is (A) a written statement signed or otherwise adopted or approved by the person making it, or (B) a stenographic, mechanical, electrical, or other recording, or a transcription thereof, which is a substantially verbatim recital of an oral statement by the person making it and contemporaneously recorded.
(4) Trial Preparation: Experts.
(A) A party may depose any person who has been identified as an expert whose opinions may be presented at trial. If a report from the expert is required under section (a)(2)(B), the deposition shall not be conducted until after the report is provided.
(B) A party may, through interrogatories or by deposition, discover facts known or opinions held by an expert who has been retained or specially employed by another party in anticipation of litigation or preparation for trial and who is not expected to be called as a witness at trial, only as provided in Rule 35(b) or upon a showing of exceptional circumstances under which it is impracticable for the party seeking discovery to obtain facts or opinions on the same subject by other means.
(C) Unless manifest injustice would result, (i) the court shall require that the party seeking discovery pay the expert a reasonable fee for time spent in responding to discovery under this subparagraph; and (ii) with respect to discovery obtained under section (b)(4)(B) of this rule the court shall require the party seeking discovery to pay the other party a fair portion of the fees and expenses reasonably incurred by the latter party in obtaining facts and opinions from the expert.
(5) Claims of Privilege or Protection of Trial Preparation Materials. When a party withholds information otherwise discoverable under these rules by claiming that it is privileged or subject to protection as trial preparation material, the party shall make the claim expressly and shall describe the nature of the documents, communications, or things not produced or disclosed in a manner that, without revealing information itself privileged or protected, will enable other parties to assess the applicability of the privilege or protection.
(c) Protective Orders. Upon motion by a party or by the person from whom discovery is sought, accompanied by a certification that the movant has in good faith conferred or attempted to confer with other affected parties in an effort to resolve the dispute without court action, and for good cause shown, the court in which the action is pending or alternatively, on matters relating to a deposition, the court in the judicial district where the deposition is to be taken may make any order which justice requires to protect a party or person from annoyance, embarrassment, oppression, or undue burden or expense, including one or more of the following: (1) that the disclosure or discovery not be had; (2) that the disclosure or discovery may be had only on specified terms and conditions, including a designation of the time or place; (3) that the discovery may be had only by a method of discovery other than that selected by the party seeking discovery; (4) that certain matters not be inquired into, or that the scope of the disclosure or discovery be limited to certain matters; (5) that discovery be conducted with no one present except persons designated by the court; (6) that a deposition, after being sealed, be opened only by order of the court; (7) that a trade secret or other confidential research, development, or commercial information not be revealed or be revealed only in a designated way; and (8) that the parties simultaneously file specified documents or information enclosed in sealed envelopes to be opened as directed by the court.
If the motion for a protective order is denied in whole or in part, the court may, on such terms and conditions as are just, order that any party or other person provide or permit discovery. The provisions of Rule 37(a)(4) apply to the award of expenses incurred in relation to the motion.
(d) Timing and Sequence of Discovery.
(1) Timing of Discovery-Non-Exempted Actions. In an action in which disclosure is required under Rule 26(a), a party may serve up to ten of the thirty interrogatories allowed under Rule 33(a) at the times allowed by section (d)(2)(C) of this rule. Otherwise, except by order of the court or agreement of the parties, a party may not seek discovery from any source before the parties have met and conferred as required by paragraph (f).
(2) Timing of Discovery-Exempted Actions. In actions exempted from disclosure under Rule 26(a), discovery may take place as follows:
(A) For depositions upon oral examination under Civil Rule 30, a defendant may take depositions at any time after commencement of the action. The plaintiff must obtain leave of court if the plaintiff seeks to take a deposition prior to the expiration of 30 days after service of the summons and complaint upon any defendant or service by publication if authorized, except that leave is not required (i) if a defendant has served a notice of taking deposition or otherwise sought discovery, or (ii) the plaintiff seeks to take the deposition under Civil Rule 30(a)(2)(C).
(B) For depositions upon written questions under Civil Rule 31, a party may serve questions at any time after commencement of the action.
(C) For interrogatories, requests for production, and requests for admission under Civil Rules 33, 34, and 36, discovery requests may be served upon the plaintiff at any time after the commencement of the action, and upon any other party with or after service of the summons and complaint upon that party.
(3) Sequence of Discovery. Unless the court upon motion, for the convenience of parties and witnesses and in the interests of justice, orders otherwise, methods of discovery may be used in any sequence, and the fact that a party is conducting discovery, whether by deposition or otherwise, shall not operate to delay any other party's discovery.
(e) Supplementation of Disclosures and Responses. A party who has made a disclosure under paragraph (a) or Civil Rule 26.1(b) or responded to a request for discovery with a disclosure or response is under a duty to supplement or correct the disclosure or response to include information thereafter acquired if ordered by the court or in the following circumstances:
(1) A party is under a duty to supplement at appropriate intervals its disclosures under paragraph (a) if the party learns that in some material respect the information disclosed is incomplete or incorrect and if the additional or corrective information has not otherwise been made known to the other parties during the discovery process or in writing. With respect to testimony of an expert from whom a report is required under subdivision (a)(2)(B) the duty extends both to information contained in the report and to information provided through a deposition of the expert.
(2) A party is under a duty seasonably to amend a prior response to an interrogatory, request for production, or request for admission if the party learns that the response is in some material respect incomplete or incorrect and if the additional or corrective information has not otherwise been made known to the other parties during the discovery process or in writing.
(f) Meeting of Parties; Planning for Discovery and Alternative Dispute Resolution. Except when otherwise ordered and except in actions exempted from disclosure under Rule 26(a), the parties shall, as soon as practicable and in any event at least 14 days before a scheduling conference is held or a scheduling order is due under Rule 16(b), meet to discuss the nature and basis of their claims and defenses and the possibilities for a prompt settlement or resolution of the case, including whether an alternative dispute resolution procedure is appropriate, to make or arrange for the disclosures required by subparagraph (a)(1), and to develop a proposed discovery plan and a proposed alternative dispute resolution plan. The plan shall indicate the parties' views and proposals concerning:
(1) what changes should be made in the timing or form of disclosures under paragraph (a), including a statement as to when the disclosures under subparagraph (a)(1) were made or will be made and what are appropriate intervals for supplementation of disclosure under Rule 26(e)(1);
(2) the subjects on which discovery may be needed, when discovery should be completed, and whether discovery should be conducted in phases or be limited to or focused upon particular issues;
(3) what changes should be made in the limitations on discovery imposed under these rules and what other limitations should be imposed;
(4) the plan for alternative dispute resolution, including its timing, the method of selecting a mediator, early neutral evaluator, or arbitrator, or an explanation of why alternative dispute resolution is inappropriate;
(5) whether a scheduling conference is unnecessary; and
(6) any other orders that should be entered by the court under paragraph (c) or under Rule 16(b) and (c).
The attorneys of record and all unrepresented parties that have appeared in the case are jointly responsible for arranging and being present or represented at the meeting, for attempting in good faith to agree on the proposed discovery plan, and for submitting to the court within 10 days after the meeting a written report outlining the plan.
(g) [Applicable to cases filed on or after August 7, 1997.] Limited Discovery; Expedited Calendaring. In a civil action for personal injury or property damage involving less than $100,000 in claims, the parties shall limit discovery to that allowed under District Court Civil Rule 1(a)(1) and shall avail themselves of the expedited calendaring procedures allowed under District Court Civil Rule 4.
(Adopted by SCO 5 October 9, 1959; amended by SCO 49 effective January 1, 1963; and by SCO 149 dated December 27, 1971, by SCO 158 effective February 15, 1973 and by Amendment No. 2 to SCO 158 dated July 30, 1973; amended by SCO 336 effective January 1, 1979; by SCO 1026 effective July 15, 1990; by SCO 1153 effective July 15, 1994; by SCO 1172 effective July 15, 1995; by SCO 1266 effective July 15, 1997; by SCO 1281 effective August 7, 1997; by SCO 1318 effective July 15, 1998; by SCO 1325 effective July 15, 1998; and by SCO 1341 effective September 10, 1998)
Note to SCO 1281: Paragraph (g) of this rule was added by ch. 26, § 40, SLA 1997. According to § 55 of the Act, the amendment to Civil Rule 26 applies "to all causes of action accruing on or after the effective date of this Act." The amendment to Rule 26 adopted by paragraph 1 of this order applies to all cases filed on or after August 7, 1997. See paragraph 17 of this order. The change is adopted for the sole reason that the legislature has mandated the amendment.
Note: Ch. 26, § 10, SLA 1997 repeals and reenacts AS 09.17.020 concerning punitive damages. New AS 09.17.020(e) prohibits parties from conducting discovery relevant to the amount of punitive damages until after the fact finder has determined that an award of punitive damages is allowed. This provision applies to causes of action accruing on or after August 7, 1997. See ch. 26, § 55, SLA 1997. According to § 48 of the Act, new AS 09.17.020(e) has the effect of amending Civil Rule 26 by limiting discovery in certain actions.
Note: Section 2 of chapter 95 SLA 1998 amends AS 09.19.050 to state that the automatic disclosure provisions of Civil Rule 26 do not apply in prisoner litigation against the state. According to section 13 of the act, this amendment has the effect of changing Civil Rule 26 "by providing that the automatic disclosure provisions of the rule do not apply to litigation against the state brought by prisoners."
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Last Modified 7/14/1999