Update on Florida v. Georgia

Written by: Scott Cole

The March 8 status conference in Florida v Georgia indicates that the Special Master is growing tired of massive discovery rather than settlement efforts.  The parties are still disputing burden of proof issues and related discovery deadlines, and GA has requested another extension.  But the Special Master blasted them for not focusing on core issues and mediation:

“I am not prepared to grant any extension today. From prior conferences you know that I’m very reluctant to extend this marathon. Very early on and, again, as recently as last month I suggested that you meet and confer on limiting the scope of discovery to the basic, hard-core issues you believe necessary to inform judgment. Instead, as reflected, once again, in these progress reports, both sides have plunged even deeper into discovery of hundreds, perhaps thousands, of complex issues that will ultimately be left on the wayside, millions of pages of hard copies and hundreds of gigabytes of electronic files.

As you well know, I have been harping on settlement from the beginning of this process. Much to my delight, in its November progress report, Georgia suggested mediation and Florida agreed. Four months have gone by; and the most you can tell me — and I’m quoting now from your progress reports — is, quote, the mediation process is underway, unquote, and that you have, quote, agreed to a basic framework, unquote. Let me suggest — and I hope I’m not being too unkindly here, that if you had invested up to 10 percent of the effort and time and expense you have used in discovery on mediation, we would not be here spinning our wheels. At the next call I expect to have reports that show actual mediation progress. Let me repeat that. At the next conference call I expect to have reports that show actual mediation progress. Is that clear?”

See also Florida Stewing over missing Georgia Email in Water Wars Case

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