Discoverable Information Under the Code of Civil Procedure

February 5, 2010

Information is discoverable if relevant and unprivileged. Code of Civil Procedure section 2016. To the extent any documents that are responsive to a plaintiff’s requests are privileged or private, the defendant bears the burden of showing good cause for a protective order limiting discovery. See Valley Bank of Nevada v. Superior Court (1975) 15 Cal.3rd 652, 657; see also Citizens of Humanity, LLC v. Costco Wholesale Corp. (2009) Cal.App.4th 1, 13.

In an employment context, some personnel documents may be privileged because they contain private information. However, if the documents contain relevant information and there is a compelling need for them, then a party may demand their production. Harding Lawson Associates v. Sup. Ct. (1992) 10 CA4th 7, 10.

To the extent that any documents that are responsive to a plaintiff’s interrogatories are privileged, a defendant must “set forth clearly the extent of, and specific ground for, the objection,” not merely state that the requested information is privileged. Code of Civil Procedure section 2031.240.

A plaintiff is entitled to the discovery of information that is reasonably calculated to lead to admissible evidence. Code of Civil Procedure section 2017.010. Even if evidence is ultimately excluded at trial, the plaintiff is entitled, during the discovery process, to evidence that may lead to information that is admissible at trial or that will help support a summary judgement opposition. See Johnson v. United Cerebral Palsy/Spastic Children’s Foundation of Los Angeles (2009) 173 Cal.App.4th 740, 758-760 (permitting “me too” evidence at least for the purposes of summary judgement to show motive or pattern and practice).

A plaintiff is entitled to know whether a defendant intends to fully comply with Plaintiff’s document requests as stated. Code of Civil Procedure section 2031.210.

A plaintiff is further entitled to verified responses, Code of Civil Procedure section 2030.250, so that those responses can be relied on at deposition or trial.

Author: Richard Hoyer
Category: Uncategorized
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