Supreme Court seeks public comment on proposed rule amendments regarding discovery and expert witnesses

November 20, 2009

The Mississippi Supreme Court is seeking public comment on proposed rule amendments which address discovery deadlines and expert witnesses in the trial courts.

Dec. 4 is the deadline for submitting comments to the proposed rule amendments. Comments should be filed with the Clerk of the Supreme Court, Gartin Justice Building, P.O. Box 249, Jackson, Mississippi 39205.

The Mississippi Supreme Court Advisory Committee on Rules requested the rule changes in a motion filed Aug. 13, 2009.

A copy of the petition and proposed rules is available on the web site of the State of Mississippi Judiciary at

The motion, signed by Chancery Judge Edward Patten Jr. of Hazlehurst, chair of the Rules Advisory Committee, called for extending the time for discovery from 90 to 180 days, acknowledging that the time limit could also be changed by order of the presiding judge. The motion also requests creation of a rule which would allow either party or the court no later than 30 days before trial to request a determination of the admissibility of an expert witness’ testimony. The rule would require the trial judge to issue a definitive ruling at least 10 days prior to trial unless the court determines the issue is better considered at trial.

“This recommendation is based upon the reality that discovery for all practical purposes cannot be completed in the 90 days contemplated by these Rules and that in the area of expert testimony the trial court should have the opportunity to fulfill its gate-keeping responsibility under Daubert v. Merrell Dow Pharmaceuticals, Inc. 509 US. 579 (1993) prior to trial,” the motion said.

The Mississippi Supreme Court has rule-making authority over all state courts. The Supreme Court Rules Committee on Practice and Procedure will take into account the public comments before it makes recommendations to the full court for rule changes.