Business and Commercial Litigation in Federal Courts: Civility Chapter

January 10, 2012

Reprinted with permission from:
Business and Commercial Litigation in Federal Courts Section of Litigation
American Bar Association
Third edition

Scope Note § 60:1

This chapter addresses the concept of civility as it may arise over the course of litigation in federal courts. After briefly noting the reactions of courts and bar associations to the perceived rise in uncivil behavior, the chapter discusses ways in which litigants may address uncivil behavior over the course of federal litigation, both formally and informally. Given the repercussions that could follow from a civility-based motion and the general wariness of courts to police attorney behavior, it is often advisable to consider informal methods of dealing with uncivil behavior. In that vein, the chapter discusses ways to address uncivil behavior in specific contexts, from discovery abuses to trial misconduct to general incivility, with reference to relevant federal precedent.

This chapter includes the following topics:

  • Strategy, objectives and preliminary considerations
  • Formal reactions to incivility
  • General incivility
  • Incivility throughout discovery
  • Incivility during depositions
  • Incivility in court
  • Checklist: considering whether to seek attention of court
  • Checklist: addressing general incivility
  • Checklist: addressing incivility throughout discovery
  • Checklist: addressing incivility in depositions
  • Checklist: addressing incivility in court

Download the Foley Hoag eBook Civility Chapter from Business and Commercial Litigation (.pdf)