Merrill Requests End to Discovery in Racial Discrimination Suit

Registered Rep. reported Thursday that a judge ruled in favor of Merrill Lynch, which had requested an end to the discovery phase in a racial discrimination suit filed against the firm. Merrill does not want to have to hand over any more new documents to plaintiffs lawyers. However, the magazine made an error: The judge in the case has referred the decision to a magistrate judge and a ruling has yet to be made.

Registered Rep. reported Thursday that a judge ruled in favor of Merrill Lynch, which had requested an end to the discovery phase in a racial discrimination suit filed against the firm. Merrill does not want to have to hand over any more new documents to plaintiffs lawyers. However, the magazine made an error: The judge in the case has referred the decision to a magistrate judge and a ruling has yet to be made.

Lawyers for plaintiff George McReynolds filed a motion yesterday asking the magistrate judge for 14 days to resolve the dispute with Merrill’s lawyers.

At the center of the dispute is whether lawyers for either side can request new documents from one another during an extension of the “discovery phase.” Both parties in the George McReynolds racial-discrimination case have been in the discovery phase since the fall of 2006 after settlement talks failed. (Defendants and plaintiffs request documents from one another in discovery phase to help prepare their respective arguments.)

Merrill lawyers agree that more time is necessary to turn over outstanding documents and depositions, but say new requests are “unwarranted and could lead to yet additional burdensome discovery.” But McReynolds lawyer, Linda Friedman, says there may be a need for additional requests since the outstanding documents could number up to one million pages and “something new can come out of that.”

Registered Rep. regrets the error.

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