Tuesday, March 04, 2008, 10:31 PM

COA Upholds Discovery Orders

Today, in a negligence action, the Court of Appeals (COA) upheld discovery orders compelling production of information and documents. The case is Fulmore v. Howell.

First, the trial court granted plaintiff's motion to compel discovery of defendant's social security number. Defendant argued that compelled disclosure violated the Federal Privacy Act of 1974. The COA rejected the argument, because the Act contains an exemption for court ordered disclosure. (The COA observed that the trial court required that all records be purged upon completion of the lawsuit pursuant to Rule 26(c)).

Second, the trial court granted plaintiff's motion to compel defendant to disclose all non-privileged documents he reviewed with his attorney in preparing for his deposition. The COA upheld that order, holding that if the documents weren't privileged or protected by the work product doctrine, the fact that they were reviewed by a deponent with his counsel in preparing for his deposition didn't immunize them from disclosure.

Third, the trial court granted plaintiff's motion to compel production of the defendant-employer's internal investigation/accident report. The COA upheld that order, because the accident report was prepared in the ordinary course of business pursuant to a safety manual, not for the purpose of seeking legal advice.

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