Minn. R. Civ. P. 26.02

As amended through December 10, 2019
Rule 26.02 - Discovery Methods, Scope and Limits

Unless otherwise limited by order of the court in accordance with these rules, the methods and scope of discovery are as follows:

(a) Methods. Parties may obtain discovery by one or more of the following methods: depositions by 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 (including blood) and mental examinations; and requests for admission.
(b) Scope and Limits. Unless otherwise limited by court order, the scope of discovery is as follows. Parties may obtain discovery regarding any nonprivileged matter that is relevant to any party's claim or defense and proportional to the needs of the case. considering the importance of the issues at stake in the action, the amount in controversy. die parties' relative access to relevant information, the parties' resources, the importance of the discovery in resolving the issues, and whether the burden or expense of the proposed discovery outweighs its likely benefit Information within this scope of discovery need not be admissible in evidence to be discoverable.
(1) Authority to Limit Frequency and Extent. The court may establish or alter the limits on the number of depositions and interrogatories and may also limit the length of depositions under Rule 30 and the number of requests under Rule 36. The court may act upon its own initiative after reasonable notice or pursuant to a motion under Rule 26.03.
(2) Limits on Electronically Stored Evidence for Undue Burden or Cost. A party need not provide discovery of electronically stored information from sources that the party identifies as not reasonably accessible because of undue burden or cost. On motion to compel discovery or for a protective order, the party from whom discovery is sought must show that the information is not reasonably accessible because of undue burden or cost. If that showing is made, the court may nonetheless order discovery from such sources if the requesting party shows good cause and proportionality, considering the limitations of Rule 26.02(b)(3). The court may specify conditions for the discovery.
(3) Limits Required When Cumulative; Duplicative; More Convenient Alternative; and Ample Prior Opportunity. 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 fix)m some other source that is more convenient, less burdensome, or less expensive; or
(ii) the party seeking discovery has had ample opportunity by discovery in the action to obtain the information sought: or
(iii) the burden of proposed discovery is outside the scope permitted by Rule 26.02(b)

The court may act upon its own initiative after reasonable notice or piirsuant to a motion under Rule 26.03.

(c) Insurance Agreements. In any action in which there is an insurance policy that may afford coverage, any party may require any other party to disclose the coverage and limits of such insurance and the amounts paid and payable thereunder and, pursuant to Rule 34, may obtain production of the insurance policy; provided, however, that this provision will not permit such disclosed information to be introduced into evidence unless admissible on other grounds.
(d) Trial Preparation: Materials. Subject to the provisions of Rule 26.02(e) a party may obtain discovery of documents and tangible things otherwise discoverable pursuant to Rule 26.02(b) 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 party or other person may obtain without the required showing a statement concerning the action or its subject matter previously made by that person who is not a party. If the request is refused, the person may move for a court order. The provisions of Rule 37.01(d) apply to the award of expenses incurred in relation to the motion. For purposes of this paragraph, a statement previously made is (1) a written statement signed or otherwise adopted or approved by the person making it, or (2) a stenographic, mechanical, electrical, or other recording, or a transcription thereof, that is a substantially verbatim recital of an oral statement by the person making it and contemporaneously recorded.

(e) Trial Preparation: Experts. Discovery of facts known and opinions held by experts, otherwise discoverable pursuant to Rule 26.02(b) and acquired or developed in anticipation of litigation or for trial, may be obtained only as follows:
(A) A party may through interrogatories require any other party to identify each person whom the other party expects to call as an expert witness at trial, to state the subject matter on which the expert is expected to testify, and to state the substance of the facts and opinions to which the expert is expected to testify and a summary of the grounds for each opinion.
(B) Upon motion, the court may order further discovery by other means, subject to such restrictions as to scope and such provisions, pursuant to Rule 26.02(e)(3), concerning fees and expenses, as the court may deem appropriate.
(2) A party may 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 35.02 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.
(3) Unless manifest injustice would result, (A) the court shall require the party seeking discovery to pay the expert a reasonable fee for time spent in responding to discovery pursuant to Rules 26.02(e)(1)(B) and 26.02(e)(2); and (B) with respect to discovery obtained pursuant to Rule 26.02(e)(1)(B), the court may require, and with respect to discovery obtained pursuant to Rule 26.02(e)(2) 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.
(f) Claims of Privilege or Protection of Trial Preparation Materials.
(1) 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.
(2) If information is produced in discovery that is subject to a claim of privilege or of protection as trial-preparation material, the party making the claim may notify any party that received the information of the claim and the basis for it. After being notified, a party must promptly return, sequester, or destroy the specified information and any copies it has and may not use or disclose the information until the claim is resolved. A receiving party may promptly present the information to the court under seal for a determination of the claim. If the receiving party disclosed the information before being notified, it must take reasonable steps to retrieve it. The producing party must preserve the information until the claim is resolved.

Minn. R. Civ. P. 26.02

Amended effective July 1, 2013; amended effective July 1, 2018.

Advisory Committee Comment-2006 AmendmentThe amendment to Rule 26.02 is simple but potentially quite important. The rule is amended to conform to Fed. R. Civ. P. 26(b) as amended in 2000. Although the proposed changes were expected to create as many problems as they solved, see, e.g., John S. Beckerman, Confronting Civil Discovery's Fatal Flaws, 84 Minn. L. Rev. 505, 537-43 (2000); Jeffrey W. Stempel & David F. Herr, Applying Amended Rule 26(b)(1) in Litigation: The New Scope of Discovery, in 199 F.R.D. 396 (2001), the change in the scope of discovery, to limit it to the actual claims and defenses raised in the pleadings, has worked well in federal court, and most feared problems have not materialized. See generally Thomas D. Rowe, Jr., A Square Peg in a Round Hole? The 2000 Limitation on the Scope of Federal Civil Discovery, 69 Tenn. L. Rev. 13, 25-27 (2001); Note, The Sound and the Fury or the Sound of Silence?: Evaluating the Pre-Amendment Predictions and Post-Amendment Effects of the Discovery Scope-Narrowing Language in the 2000 Amendments to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 26(b)(1), 37 Ga. L. Rev. 1039 (2003). Courts have simply not found the change dramatic nor given it a draconian interpretation. See, e.g., Sanyo Laser Prod., Inc. v. Arista Records, Inc., 214 F.R.D. 496 (S.D. Ind. 2003 ).The narrowing of the scope of discovery as a matter of right does not vitiate in any way the traditional rule that discovery should be liberally allowed. It should be limited to the claims and defenses raised by the pleadings, but the requests should still be liberally construed. See, e.g., Graham v. Casey's General Stores, 206 F.R.D. 251, 253 (S.D. Ind. 2002 ) ("Even after the recent amendments to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 26, courts employ a liberal discovery standard.").Advisory Committee Comment-2007 AmendmentRule 26.02(b)(2) is a new provision that establishes a two-tier standard for discovery of electronically stored information. The rule makes information that is not "reasonably accessible because of undue burden or cost" not normally discoverable. This rule is identical to its federal counterpart, adopted in 2006. The rule requires that it be identified in response to an appropriate request, but if it is identified as "not reasonably accessible," it need not be produced in the absence of further order. It is not strictly exempt from discovery, as the court may, upon motion that "shows good cause," order disclosure of the information. The rule explicitly authorizes the court to impose conditions on any order for disclosure of this information, and conditions that either ease the undue burden or minimize the total cost or cost borne by the producing party would be appropriate.Rule 26.02(f)(2) is a new provision that creates a uniform procedure for dealing with assertions of privilege that are made following production of information in discovery. The rule creates a mandatory obligation to return, sequester, or destroy information that is produced in discovery if the producing party asserts that it is subject to a privilege or work-product protection. The information cannot be used for any purpose until the privilege claim is resolved. The rule provides a mechanism for the receiving party to have the validity of the privilege claim resolved by the court. The rule does not create any presumption or have any impact on the validity of the claim of privilege, nor does it excuse the inadvertent or regretted production. If the court determines that that production waived an otherwise valid privilege, then the information should be ordered for production or release from sequestration of the information. Advisory Committee Comment-2018 Amendments Rule 26.02 is emended to adopt the changes made to Fed. R. Civ. P. 26(b) in 2015. The amendments are intended to improve the operation of the rule and to avoid some of the problems that were encountered under the former rule.