During April 2000, the United States Supreme Court prescribed a comparatively thorough set of amendments to the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. These amendments took effect in December 2000. That development represented the culmination of a rule revision proceeding commenced in 1996 by the Judicial Conference of the United States Advisory Committee on Civil Rules (Advisory Committee). Because certain provisos that the Supreme Court included in the 2000 amendments are rather controversial and could alter significant features of modern federal civil litigation primarily involving discovery, these revisions deserve assessment. This Essay undertakes that effort by emphasizing changes in mandatory prediscovery, automatic disclosure, and the scope of discovery.

The first section of this Essay surveys the historical background of the 2000 group of amendments to the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. The second portion of the Essay selectively evaluates the most contested and important constituents of the package of revisions and analyzes the effects that federal district court implementation of the 2000 amendments alone and together will apparently have. Ascertaining that several modifications are somewhat controversial and that, individually or in combination, they could have relatively significant impacts, the third segment affords suggestions for future action that members of the legislative and judicial branches, lawyers and parties should consider.

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