Legal Memorandum: General Provisions Governing Discovery

Issue: Under Missouri law, may a plaintiff in a products liability action avoid having to produce the product at issue in its lawsuit by arguing that the product originated with defendant manufacturer?

Area of Law: Litigation & Procedure, Personal Injury & Negligence
Keywords: Obtain discovery; Products liability action; Request for production
Jurisdiction: Federal, Missouri
Cited Cases: None
Cited Statutes: Fed. R. Civ. P. 26(b), Rule 34; Mo. R. Civ. P. 56.01(b)(1)
Date: 12/01/2013

In Cardenas v. Dorel Juvenile Group, Inc., 232 F.R.D. 377 (D. Kan. 2005), the court concluded that the “you already have it” logic was inapplicable to a Rule 34 request for production.  In that case, the plaintiffs sought documents relating to the design, testing, cost and use foam inserts on a European model of child car seat manufactured by one of the defendants.  Id. at 381.  The European model was no longer sold in the United States.  Among other things, the defendant argued that because the plaintiffs already had an exemplar of the European model, they did not need any additional discovery relating to that model.  The trial court rejected the argument, noting it was “contrary to [Rule 26(b)]’s mandate that parties may obtain discovery regarding any matter that is relevant to the claim or defense of any party.”  Id. at 384 (citing Fed. R. Civ. P. 26(b)).  Cf. Mo. R. Civ. P. 56.01(b)(1) (“Parties may obtain discovery regarding any matter, not privileged, which is relevant to the subject matter involved in the pending action . . . .”).


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