Rather than saying, “your response to this discovery is due in 30 days,” why don’t our court rules require the proponent of discovery to identify a date certain: “Your response to this discovery is due on or before January 18, 2015″ (that is, requiring the identification of a specific date (30 days, more or less, from the date of service))?
This would have the benefit of clarity, specificity, and lawyers would not waste time, money, and life-meaning, fighting about what “within 30 days after being served” means.
The rule could provide that a 30-day response time is presumptively reasonable absent a court order or stipulation providing for a greater or smaller amount of time. The rule could provide that the receiving party could object to the specified response date as unreasonable within 7 days of receipt if the receiving party took the position that the designated response time was unreasonable, after which the propounding party could have 7 days to amend the identified deadline if the propounding party thought the receiving party’s position had merit.
If that were the way that civil discovery was served, we would not have preposterous “day-counting squabbles:” the subject of Volume 6 of Minnesota Litigator’s toungue-in-cheek TAAFOMFT series (“These are a few of my favorite things”).
In Arctic Cat v. Bombardier, the court ordered that discovery should proceed in order “to be completed by September 1, 2014.” So plaintiff served discovery (requests for admission) on August 1, 2014, calling for a response within 30 days. This would mean a deadline of August 31 to most people. But that’s a Sunday. Since, under the rules, you cannot have a deadline on a Sunday and since Labor Day was on following Monday, Bombardier took the position that the discovery was not due until September 2. As such, the discovery could not be completed by September 1, so, Bombardier argued (unsuccessfully), that it did not have to answer the discovery.