16 Rev. Litig. 271

Colorado’s Approach to Discovery and Pretrial Reform in Civil Cases

David R. DeMuro

Mr. DeMuro’s article comments on Colorado’s 1994 discovery and pretrial reform. Prior to the adoption of the new Rules of Civil Procedure, Colorado allowed almost unlimited discovery. The new Rules dramatically limit the discovery process in Colorado. For example, Rule 26(a)(1) mandates initial disclosure within thirty days after the case is at issue. Furthermore, parties must submit a proposed case management order within forty-five days after the case is at issue. Additional limitations of discovery include restrictions on depositions and limitations on the number of written interrogatories. Rule 16(b)(1)(IV) requires completion of discovery forty days before the trial date. These new Rules, along with others discussed in the article, are intended to dramatically change pretrial procedures and discovery. They were implemented to encourage professionalism and cooperation among parties and counsel. Abuses such as “hide-the-ball” and “hard ball” tactics were intended to be eliminated. Mr. DeMuro’s article concludes by looking at the effects of the new Rules in practice. Many in Colorado have complained about increasing costs and have been skeptical about the concept of mandatory disclosure. However, the new Rules are believed to work well by encouraging professionalism as well as promoting early settlements.


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