RULE 17. Discovery
(a) Public Proceedings before the Grievance Commission.
(1) Scope. Within 21 days following the respondent’s answer to Bar Counsel’s formal charges, Bar Counsel and the respondent shall (A) exchange the names and addresses of all persons having knowledge of relevant facts; (B) identify which persons are reasonably anticipated to be called as witnesses; and (C) exchange all documents Bar Counsel or respondent reasonably anticipate will be introduced at trial or hearing.
(2) Resolution of Disputes. The chair of the Grievance Commission panel shall resolve by order all disputes concerning discovery. All discovery orders are interlocutory and may not be appealed prior to the entry of the final order.
(3) Additional Discovery. Upon good cause shown, the chair of the Grievance Commission panel may order additional discovery.
(b) Disciplinary Proceedings before a Single Justice.
(1) Scope. Within 21 days after filing of an Answer to the Board’s Information with the Executive Clerk of the Court, Bar Counsel and the respondent shall (A) exchange the names and addresses of all persons having knowledge of relevant facts; (B) identify which persons are reasonably anticipated to be called as witnesses; and (C) exchange all documents Bar Counsel or respondent reasonably anticipates will be introduced at trial or hearing.
(2) Exhibits and Transcripts. In the event that a formal charges hearing was held before the Grievance Commission pursuant to Rule 13(e), Bar Counsel and the respondent shall make available to one another copies of all exhibits presented to the Grievance Commission hearing panel. The transcript from proceedings before the Grievance Commission hearing panel and any other matter within Bar Counsel’s or the respondent’s possession or control that is discoverable under Maine Rules of Civil Procedure 26, shall be made available to other party at any reasonable time for inspection and duplication at that party’s expense.
(3) Resolution of Disputes. A Single Justice shall resolve by order all disputes concerning discovery.
(4) Additional Discovery. Upon good cause shown, the Single Justice may order additional discovery pursuant to Maine Rules of Civil Procedure 26-37.
Reporter’s Notes – June 2015
Rule 17 is generally based on Model Rule 15. There is no equivalent in the former Maine Bar Rules. The committee felt it was important to adopt a discovery rule, but concluded that the Model Rule did not offer clear guidance as to the scope of discovery. The committee also rejected the Model Rule’s inclusion of depositions in the grievance process in Maine, finding that such formal additional discovery was not warranted and would significantly delay the timely processing and hearing of grievance complaints. The committee adopted two tracks of rules: one for proceedings before the Grievance Commission in Rule 17(a), and one for proceedings before a Single Justice in Rule 17(b). Although there was no clear discovery rule in the former Maine Bar Rules, the committee feels that Rule 17 accurately reflects the existing informal discovery practice of the office of Bar Counsel.
Advisory Note– January 2017
The July 2015 promulgation of Rule 17 formalized the past informal discovery procedures utilized by the parties during disciplinary proceedings conducted by the Court or the Grievance Commission. This change to Rule 17(b) directs that the mandates of the discovery requirements for the Court proceedings mirror the same discovery requirements set forth in Rule 17(a), regardless of whether a Commission hearing occurred prior to that Court proceeding.