Post Process

Everything to do with E-discovery & ESI

Court Blurb; Member Servs. Inc.; Court discusses basic framework for discovery requests and associated objections

Posted by rjbiii on October 13, 2007

The boundaries of permissive discovery in a federal action, though appreciably diminished by virtue of changes implemented in December of 2000, remain broad; by rule “[p]arties may obtain discovery regarding any matter, not privileged, that is relevant to the claim or defense of any party . . . . For good cause the court may order discovery of any matter relevant to the subject matter involved in the action.” Fed. R. Civ. P. 26(b)(1). It is well-established that the rules pertaining to discovery, including its permissible scope, are to be broadly interpreted. See Inmates of Unit 14 v. Rebideau, 102 F.R.D. 122, 128 (N.D.N.Y. 1984). “‘[D]iscovery is to be considered relevant where there is any possibility that the information sought may be relevant to the subject matter of the action.'” Cox v. McClellan, 174 F.R.D. 32, 34 (W.D.N.Y. 1997) (quoting United States v. Int’l Bus. Mach. Corp., 66 F.R.D. 215, 218 (S.D.N.Y 1974)) (emphasis in original). Additionally, “[g]eneral and conclusory objections as to relevance, overbreadth, or burden are insufficient to exclude discovery of requested information.” See Melendez v. Greiner, No. 01 Civ. 07888, 2003 WL 22434101, at *1 (S.D.N.Y Oct. 23, 2003).

When a party seeks to compel discovery, it is that party which bears the initial burden of demonstrating relevance of the requested materials to a claim or defense in the case. See Zanowic v. Reno, No. 97 Civ. 5292, 2000 WL 1376251, at *5 (S.D.N.Y. Sept. 25, 2000). This notwithstanding, courts place a strict burden on a party resisting discovery, as “[a]n objection to a document request must clearly set forth the specifics of the objection and how that objection relates to the documents being demanded.” Obiajulu v. City of Rochester, Dep’t of Law, 166 F.R.D. 293, 295 (W.D.N.Y. 1996) (internal citations omitted). “‘The burden is on the party resisting discovery to clarify and explain precisely why its objections are proper given the broad and liberal construction of the discovery rules found in the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure.'” See Murray v. Palmer, No. 03-CV-1010, 2006 WL 2516485, at *1 (N.D.N.Y. Aug. 29, 2006) (quoting Obiajulu, 166 F.R.D. at 295).

The rules which govern discovery also provide that despite a showing of relevance, a court may nonetheless issue a protective order precluding or limiting discovery, upon a proper showing. Fed. R. Civ. P. 26(c); see Costa v. AFGO Mech. Servs., Inc., 137 F.R.D. 21, 26 (E.D.N.Y. 2006). The burden of establishing entitlement to such a protection rests with the party seeking to invoke the court’s powers to shield, preclude or limit what would otherwise be the discovery of relevant information. See Penn Group, LLC v. Slater, 2007 WL 2020099, at *13 (S.D.N.Y. June 13, 2007) (noting that as the “proponent of a protective order”, the movant bears the burden to demonstrate good cause for its proposed limitations on discovery); see also Costa, 237 F.R.D. at 26.

Member Servs., Inc. v. Security Mut. Life Ins., 2007 WL 2907520 (N.D.N.Y. October 03, 2007)

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