Dec. 31, 2015 6:01 PM ET
WASHINGTON (AP) — Chief Justice John Roberts highlighted changes Thursday to federal court rules that he hopes will make lawsuits less expensive and time consuming.
Roberts said in the annual report he issues on the last day of the year that the rule changes that took effect a month ago are a “big deal” because they focus on ways to reduce delays and gamesmanship that plague civil lawsuits in the federal system.
“They mark significant change, for both lawyers and judges, in the future conduct of civil trials,” wrote Roberts, who has been on the Supreme Court since 2005.
Reflecting the importance of e-mails and other electronically stored information that might be sought by one side or the other in a lawsuit, Roberts said the rules point to greater consequences for failing to preserve that information, especially if the loss is not accidental.
Last year’s report announced the Supreme Court’s belated development of an electronic filing system similar to those used in courts around the country. Roberts offered no update on that work in the new report, but court officials have said they expect the system to come on line sometime in 2016.