Lawsuits over claims of unpaid minimum wage and overtime have filled up federal dockets and often get bogged down in crisscrossing discovery motions. But some federal courts will be trying out a new set of rules to help speed those cases toward a resolution.
Some federal judges will begin using “Initial Discovery Protocols” for Fair Labor Standards Act cases that aren’t pleaded as collective actions. The protocols outline the documents and information each party agrees to produce for the other in a FLSA case, which are meant to get to the heart of most wage claim disputes.
The discovery rules were produced by a committee of wage-and-hour attorneys that was facilitated by the Federal Judicial Center and the Institute for the Advancement of the American Legal System, a legal research center based at the University of Denver. The FJC and IAALS hope that courts across the country will adopt the FLSA discovery rules to simplify wage-and-hour case proceedings and make them less costly.
“This is part of a growing movement to try to streamline and make the discovery process in our civil cases more efficient and effective,” said Brittany Kauffman, director of IAALS’ Rule One Initiative, which researches ways to make court systems “more speedy, just and inexpensive.”
(Editor’s Note: This excerpt was corrected to specify that IAALS is based in the University of Denver, and not the university’s law school.)