November 24, 2014
Proposed New Rule of the Commercial Division
Relating to Responses and Objections to Document Requests
The Supreme Court Committee reviewed the Office of Court Administration’s proposed new rule of the Commercial Division, recommended by the Commercial Division Advisory Council, requiring greater specificity in objecting and responding to document requests under New York CPLR 3120. Under the proposed rule, a party responding to a document request must 1) state with specificity the grounds for any objection to production; 2) make an affirmative statement as to whether the party is withholding responsive material; and 3) if documents are withheld, state in what way the responding party has limited its production.
Following discussion, a majority of the members of the Supreme Court Committee voted in favor of the proposal at the meeting on October 20, 2014. It was the consensus of the Committee that avoiding combined or boilerplate objections to document demands results in more efficient litigation. Some members suggested modifying the language requiring a responding party to state the grounds for any objection to production “with specificity” to “with reasonable particularity,” to track the language of CPLR 3122(a).
Some members of the Committee, including in dissent, expressed the general concern that the process of amending the Commercial Division Rules on an individual basis presents challenges for practitioners to know what the rules are at any given time, and to respond and comment timely on a litany of individual proposals rather than a consolidated, omnibus proposal of all the recommended changes with a longer comment period.