All experienced civil litigators have learned that the small skirmishes between the filing of a complaint and the final resolution of a lawsuit (resolution whether by trial or settlement) can have far-reaching consequences for the outcome of the litigation and, in many instances, decisions in these skirmishes are effectively unappealable (or pretty close) as a practical matter.
The U.S. Magistrate Judges, who are generally the first judges to decide these matters in this district, wield significant power and discretion. It follows, therefore, that Minnesota civil litigators ought to get to know their new judges as quickly and thoroughly as possible for insight into their dispositions, their sense of the appropriate scope (and cost) of discovery and so on.
The linked order is from the District of Minnesota’s newest Magistrate Judge, Leo I. Brisbois. Practitioners will have their own insights and take-aways from Judge Brisbois’ order (a single order, after all, is not much to go on – it takes more to get to know a judge) but clearly Judge Brisbois’ order on the sometimes critical issue of the scope of the attorney-client privilege/attorney work product doctrine with regard to expert materials (that is, materials created before being retained as an expert) and his order on the more mundane issues of the timeliness (or not) of motions and the appropriate payment for travel costs suggest a thoughtful and balanced approach to such decisions.