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E. Timeliness and Sanctions

  1. TIMELINESS OF DISCOVERY RESPONSES. The Federal Rules of Civil Procedure set forth explicit time limits for responding to discovery requests. If unable to answer timely, an attorney should first seek an informal extension of time from counsel propounding the discovery. Counsel in this district typically accommodate reasonable requests for additional time. If unable to informally resolve the matter, counsel should move for an extension of time to respond. See Local Rule 3.01(g), Middle District of Florida, requiring a certificate that counsel have conferred before seeking judicial relief.
  2. MOTIONS FOR EXTENSIONS OF TIME. Motions for extension of time within which to respond to discovery should be filed sparingly and only when counsel are unable to informally resolve their disputes. Counsel should be aware that the mere filing of a motion for an extension of time in which to respond does not, absent an order of the Court, extend the deadline for responding to discovery requests. 
  3. SANCTIONS. Rule 37, Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, provides that if a party must seek relief from the Court to compel a recalcitrant party to respond, the moving party may be awarded reasonable expenses including attorney's fees incurred in compelling the responses. Rule 37 is enforced in this district. Further, if a Court order is obtained compelling discovery, unexcused failure to comply with such an order is treated by the Court with special gravity and disfavor."
  4. STAYS OF DISCOVERY. Normally, the pendency of a motion to dismiss or a motion for summary judgment will not justify a unilateral motion to stay discovery pending resolution of the dispositive motion. Such motions for stay are rarely granted. However, unusual circumstances may justify a stay of discovery in a particular case upon a specific showing of prejudice or undue burden. This policy also applies to cases referred to mediation under the Local Rules.