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Tucker v. Am. Int'l Grp., Inc. - 281 F.R.D. 85 (D. Conn. 2012)

Rule:

Fed. R. Civ. P. 26(b)(1) sets forth the scope and limitations of permissible discovery. Parties may obtain discovery regarding any nonprivileged matter that is relevant to any party's claim or defense. For good cause, the court may order discovery of any matter relevant to the subject matter involved in the action. Relevant information need not be admissible at the trial if the discovery appears reasonably calculated to lead to the discovery of admissible evidence. Fed. R. Civ. P. 26(b)(1). Information that is reasonably calculated to lead to the discovery of admissible evidence is considered relevant for the purposes of discovery.

Facts:

Plaintiff Teri Tucker commenced an action to recover damages from defendants American International Group and National Union Fire Insurance Company of Pittsburgh, PA, her former employer's insurers, arising from her unlawful discharge, under an employment practices liability insurance policy. Plaintiff sought to collect from defendant insurers the $4 million judgment in her favor. In the course of the proceedings, Plaintiff has moved pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 45(c)(2)(B) for an order compelling the inspection of electronic records in the possession of non-party alleging that due to irregularities and missing documents in initial production. In response, defendants had previously agreed that plaintiff Tucker could retain an independent forensic examiner.

Issue:

Does plaintiff’s proffered inspection protocol exceed the bounds of permissible discovery?

Answer:

Yes.

Conclusion:

The court found that on its face, plaintiff's proffered inspection protocol was overly broad and thus, exceeded the bounds of permissible discovery under Fed. R. Civ. P. 26(b)(2)(C). Plaintiff asked the court to impose the expense of the requested search entirely upon the insurance broker, including payment of her forensic expert. The broker was not a party in this case and would be subjected to significant burden and expense in the event of the requested inspection. In addition to any business disruption the broker could endure, it would also face a host of confidentiality concerns.

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