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Buffalo Creek: A Game of Discovery (Initial Disclosure Version)

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Effective December 1, 2006, the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure were amended to reflect changes in discovery resulting from the electronic storage of information. CALI's lessons do not yet reflect these amendments. As each lesson is revised to reflect the amended rules, the lesson's catalog description will be updated to enable students and faculty to easily tell which lessons include the amended rules.

This game introduces students to pre-trial discovery under the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. The discovery issues arise from the mass tort litigation begun in the aftermath of the Buffalo Creek flooding disaster of 1972. This game assumes the jurisdiction has not opted-out of the Rule 26 initial and pre-trial disclosure requirements.

In addition to problems about legal entitlement to discovery, the game asks players about their obligations to disclose information without awaiting a discovery request from their opponents. In many questions, after a description of potential items for disclosure or discovery, the player in possession of the information is asked if he or she wants to disclose it. Next, the receiving player is asked if he or she wants to seek discovery of the information in questions or additional information. Attorneys must decide whether the rules require disclosure of the items in question; whether to resist discovery; and must provide reasons for failing to disclose or resisting a discovery request. The computer plays the roles of the clerk of the court (to file motions) and Judge K. K. Hall (to rule on the motions and offer observations about the player’s performance). Players must also consider time, the cost of discovery litigation, the cost of compliance with requests, and their reputations.

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