PA Courts Put A Limit On Extensive Discovery
In a recent case from the Eastern District of PA, Fost v. Kennedy, the court denied the plaintiff’s motion to compel the defendant to produce extensive documents in a punitive damages case. In this auto accident case, the court held several discovery conferences to resolve discovery issues. The parties exchanged seven letters concerning discovery. The court finally ruled on a motion to compel finding that the plaintiff is due discovery responses, but the defendant cannot be compelled to produce documents that do not exist.
The plaintiff in the case brought punitive damages claims against a truck driver and his employers alleging that the defendants acted recklessly. As a result, the plaintiff sent discovery request demanding hundreds of hours of videos of the employee’s truck driving. The court found that the plaintiff was due discovery responses, but the extensive discovery requests were disproportionate. At this point the trucking company and produced almost one weeks’ worth of video prior to the accident. Citing a ruling from the Middle District of PA, District courts must not impose “inordinate and expensive burden[s]” in discovery. Westfield Ins. Co. v. Icon Legacy Custom Modular Homes, 321 F.R.D. 107, 118 (M.D. Pa. 2017). As a result, the court denied the plaintiff’s request for production in relation to the video footage.
Thanks to Kevin Riley for his contribution to this post. Should you have any questions, please feel free to contact Tom Bracken.