Discovery Facilitator Program - Sonoma Superior Court

Civil icon Project Name: Discovery Facilitator Program
Court: Sonoma Superior Court
   Documents: Local Rule
    List of Facilitators
   Links: Court Website

Overview/Program Description:

Local attorneys agree to serve as Discovery facilitators. Prior to the filing of a discovery motion, the parties are encouraged by the court to agree to participate in the Discovery Facilitator Program in order to resolve discovery disputes without a court hearing. At any time after the filing of a discovery motion, the court may, in its discretion, issue an order referring the parties to the Discovery Facilitator Program. The Discovery facilitator provides to the parties up to two free hours in an attempt to facilitate resolution of the discovery dispute. In the event a resolution cannot be achieved within two hours, the parties may agree to continue working with the Discovery facilitator, provided an agreement is reached regarding compensation.

In the event a resolution is not achieved, the Discovery facilitator prepares and serves the parties with a report summarizing the dispute and contentions of the parties, any legal or factual analysis conducted, and a statement as to whether or not the Discovery facilitator believes the parties conferred in good faith. This report is filed with the court by the moving party or, if a discovery motion is already pending, 10 days before the scheduled hearing.

Program Benefits/Savings:

The program has been very successful. The number of contested discovery law and motion hearings has been dramatically reduced, which saves judicial and staff time. Parties have reported a high degree of satisfaction from the program. A significant number of discovery disputes have resolved through the program, obviating the need for discovery hearings.

Other Courts Using Similar Programs:

  • Alameda Superior Court
  • Contra Costa Superior Court
  • Marin Superior Court
  • San Francisco Superior Court (Volunteer Attorney Discovery Mediation Program)