In Hawaii, if your case is in the United States District Court for the District of Hawaii (“Hawaii Federal Court’), then the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure (FRCP) and the Local Rules for the Hawaii Federal Court apply. These rules provide that certain steps be taken prior to commencing discovery.
According to FRCP 26(d), “a party may not seek discovery from any source before the parties have conferred as required by Rule 26(f)…” FRCP Rule 26(d). FRCP Rule 26(f)(2) explains the purpose of the conference of the parties as follows:
In conferring, the parties must consider the nature and basis of their claims and defenses and the possibilities for promptly settling or resolving the case; make or arrange for the disclosures required by Rule 26(1); discuss any issues about preserving discoverable information; and develop a proposed discovery plan. The attorneys of record and all unrepresented parties that have appeared in the case are jointly responsible for arranging the conference, for attempting in good faith to agree on the proposed discovery plan, and for submitting to the court within 14 days after the conference a written report outlining the plan. The court may order the parties or attorneys to attend the conference in person.
FRCP Rule 26(f)(2).
The Rule 26(f) conference of the parties must be completed at least 21 days before the scheduling conference. FRCP Rule 26(f)(1). Then, pursuant to Rule 26(c), “a party must make the initial disclosures at or within 14 days after the parties’ Rule 26(f) conference…” FRCP Rule 26(c).
Initial Disclosure require the following:
(a) Required Disclosures.
(1) Initial Disclosure.
(A) In General. Except as exempted by Rule 26(a)(1)(B) or as otherwise stipulated or ordered by the court, a party must, without awaiting a discovery request, provide to the other parties:
(i) the name and, if known, the address and telephone number of each individual likely to have discoverable information–along with the subjects of that information–that the disclosing party may use to support its claims or defenses, unless the use would be solely for impeachment;
(ii) a copy–or a description by category and location–of all documents, electronically stored information, and tangible things that the disclosing party has in its possession, custody, or control and may use to support its claims or defenses, unless the use would be solely for impeachment;
(iii) a computation of each category of damages claimed by the disclosing party–who must also make available for inspection and copying as under Rule 34 the documents or other evidentiary material, unless privileged or protected from disclosure, on which each computation is based, including materials bearing on the nature and extent of injuries suffered; and
(iv) for inspection and copying as under Rule 34, any insurance agreement under which an insurance business may be liable to satisfy all or part of a possible judgment in the action or to indemnify or reimburse for payments made to satisfy the judgment.
FRCP Rule 26(a).
As such, pursuant to Rule 26(d), discovery cannot be commenced until the conference of the parties has taken place. Then, initial disclosures are required in addition to any discovery responses. These rules ensure that parties meet to discuss how discovery is going to be conducted and that certain disclosures are made in the beginning of the case to encourage an efficient discovery process.