Wednesday, November 7, 2018

Western District Federal Court Reviews Parameters of Discovery About Withheld Discovery

An important but rarely reviewed discovery issue was addressed by the Western District Federal Court of Pennsylvania in the case of Alley v. MTD Products, No. 3:2017-CV-00003 (W.D. Pa. Sept. 28, 2018 Gibson, J.).   In this matter, the court addressed an opponent’s suspicion of inadequate document production by the opposing parties in discovery.  

The court ruled that an opponent’s mere suspicion of inadequate document production does not justify discovery about an opposing party’s discovery processes.   The court noted that discovery about discovery is allowed only upon the showing of bad faith or an unlawful withholding of documents.  

In this matter, the court granted a Motion for a Protective Order where one party had requested discovery documents from a prior products liability litigation.   The court noted that comparing the low amount in controversy against the cost of complying with this type of discovery request weighed in favor of granting the protective order.

The court additionally noted that the prior litigation was identified and that the Plaintiff could seek information from the electronic, online dockets.   

The court also noted that the discovery in dispute was not crucial to the case at hand.

Anyone wishing to review of a copy of this decision may click this LINK.

I send thanks to Attorney James M. Beck of the Philadelphia office of the Reed Smith law firm from bringing this case to my attention.

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