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Massachusetts Civil Procedure Rule 29: Stipulations Regarding Discovery Procedure

[Disclaimer]

Unless the court orders otherwise, the parties may by written stipulation (1) provide that depositions may be taken before any person, at any time or place, upon any notice, and in any manner and when so taken may be used like other depositions; and (2) modify the procedures provided by these rules for other methods of discovery.

Effective July 1, 1974.

Reporter's Notes (1973) Rule 29 changes Federal Rule 29. The Federal rule requires court approval for any extension of time: (a) to answer interrogatories; (b) to produce documents, etc.; or (c) to respond to a request for admission. This requirement clashes squarely with Massachusetts practice. Under GL c. 231 ยง 72, "[p]arties may make agreements relative to amendments and the time of filing papers, which shall be equivalent to an order of the court to the same effect." Because existing practice seems to have worked so well, and because the requirement of prior court approval seems so likely to produce unnecessary anguish to bench and bar, Rule 29 follows Massachusetts procedure. It should be noted that even Arizona, which has otherwise adopted a firm policy of tracking the Federal Rules without change (see Frank, "Arizona and the Federal Rules," 41 FRD 79, 86-87 (1966)), has rejected the court-approval requirement of Federal Rule 29.