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Panel seeks comment on evidence, discovery proposals

A rules committee of the Supreme Court of Virginia is asking for comments on the best way to display a revised rule designed to make it easier to get business records into evidence.

The court’s Advisory Committee on Rules of Practice and Procedure also is soliciting comments on a proposal to cap the allowed number of requests for admission in civil litigation.

The General Assembly this year approved a “certificate” procedure to authenticate business records in court, hoping to avoid time-wasting procedures to validate records that no one questions. The reform was a proposal of the Boyd-Graves Conference which recommends improvements to the civil litigation system.

The rules committee suggests modifying the format of the applicable evidence rule, Rule 2:803(6), to put the requirements in an outline format. The panel is asking for comment on whether the format change, which makes no substantive change in the amended rule, would be a “beneficial clarification.”

The rules committee also proposes to rein in some lawyers who may have gotten carried away with their requests for admission.

Lawyers in Northern Virginia and Tidewater have been hit with up to 290 requests for admission in individual discovery requests, the committee said.

The rules panel suggests a cap of 30 requests for admission, unless expanded by agreement or by court order. The cap would not apply to requests for admission related to the genuineness of documents.

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