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CA5 Remands over U Visa Discovery: Cazorla v. Koch Foods

September 30, 2016 (1 min read)

Cazorla v. Koch Foods, Sept. 27, 2016 - "Rather than impose an order of our own, we remand to the district court to devise an approach to U visa discovery that adequately protects the diverse and competing interests at stake. Our discussion indicates the basics of that approach. Because claimants’ U visa applications would be novel and significant impeachment evidence, we do not forbid U visa discovery outright. At a minimum, however, any U visa discovery must not reveal to Koch the identities of any visa applicants and their families, at least in the liability phase. In the liability phase, the probative value of the U visa evidence is maintained even though it is anonymized because the trier of fact is charged with determining liability to the complainants as a whole, and therefore the proportion of complainants who have applied for U visas in connection with this matter is informative regardless of the identity of specific applicants. However, if the trier of fact determines that Koch is liable to the complainants, then it will likely be necessary to de-anonymize the U visa application discovery for the purpose of proceeding with individual damages determinations, as proof in that regard necessarily must be individualized. Beyond these broad contours, we leave the management of U visa discovery to the district court. Rule 26(d) gives that court wide discretion to craft flexible and nuanced terms of discovery. In light of the above, we VACATE the district court’s certified discovery orders and REMAND for further proceedings not inconsistent with this opinion."