The Business Court is serious about lawyers complying with their meet and confer obligations before filing discovery motions.
This week, in Wicks v. Moody, the Court denied the Plaintiff’s Motion for a Protective Order because of counsel’s failure to comply with the certification requirements of Business Court Rule 18.6. Judge Tennille held that "this reason alone is sufficient for the Court to deny Plaintiff’s motion."
This isn’t the first case in which the Business Court has summarily denied a discovery motion for this reason. In a July 2007 case, International Legwear Group, Inc. v. Legassi International Group, the Court struck a Motion to Compel, even though the moving party had attached substantial correspondence showing an effort to resolve the issues. Judge Diaz held:
while the Motion contains a 23-page attachment purporting to summarize the various discussions of the parties relating to their discovery dispute, it does not contain the certificate of compliance contemplated by Business Court Rule 18.6(a). The purpose of the certificate is to have the moving party succinctly set out what was done to resolve the dispute short of judicial intervention—the Court has no interest in, nor should it be burdened with, sifting through 23 pages of correspondence to determine whether the parties have complied with its rules.
In Latigo Investments II, LLC v. Waddell & Reed Financial, Inc., a January 2008 case, the Court held that the Rule 18.6 applies even when the discovery at issue is being sought from a non-party.
North Carolina Business Court Rule 18.6(a) says that "the Court will not consider motions and objections relating to discovery unless moving counsel files a certificate that, after personal consultation and diligent attempts to resolve differences, the parties are unable to reach an accord. The certificate shall set forth the date of the conference, the names of the participating attorneys, and the specific results achieved. It shall be the responsibility of counsel for the movant to arrange for the conference and, in the absence of an agreement to the contrary, the conference shall be held in the office of the attorney nearest to the Court where the case was originally filed. Alternatively, at any party’s request, the conference may be held by telephone."