Friday, February 11, 2022

Court Addresses Discovery Issues Including Issues With Plaintiff's Attorney Being a Deponent in the Case

In the case of Butler v. Scranton Manuf. Co., Inc., No. 18-CV-5167 (C.P. Lacka. Co. Jan. 28, 2022 Nealon, J.), the court addressed discovery issues in a case involving an employee who was riding a garbage truck on its rear riding step when that step allegedly snapped and detached from the moving truck and caused the employee to fall and suffer head injuries and other injuries.

This case involves a products liability case against the manufacturers and distributors of the truck and the riding step.

With regards to the discovery dispute at issue before the court in this decision, the Defendant manufacturer subpoenaed several borough employees for depositions and demanded that the witnesses produce documents in conjunction with those depositions.

The manufacturing Defendant contended that the borough manager acted in bad faith by failing to produce the requested records at his deposition.

As such, the manufacturer filed a Motion to Compel a second deposition of the borough manager and also requested sanctions. The manufacturer also sought to depose the borough council president who happened to also be a member of the law firm that represented the Plaintiff in this case.

After a review of the records and applying Pennsylvania law regarding the liberal discovery standards applicable to civil litigation matters, the court ruled that the manufacturer may depose the borough council president regarding his post-accident conversations with the Plaintiff’s father and his knowledge of the borough council’s garbage truck maintenance decisions.   However, the court ruled that, currently, there was no basis for a finding that the borough council president was likely to be a necessary witness concerning the contested issues in the case such that the law firm he worked for would be precluded from representing the Plaintiff.

The court additionally ruled that no other discovery from the borough was warranted under the circumstances and that, as such, the request for sanctions was denied as being devoid or merit.

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

Source of image:  Photo by Jin Yang from

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