Legal Memorandum: Nonparties Discovery Requests in CA

Issue: Under California law, how do courts generally view discovery requests addressed to nonparties?

Area of Law: Litigation & Procedure
Keywords: Discovery requests; Nonparties; Deposition subpoena
Jurisdiction: California
Cited Cases: 234 Cal. App. 2d 767; 53 Cal. App. 4; 186 Cal. App. 2d 813; 156 Cal. App. 4th 123
Cited Statutes: Cal. Civ. P. Code 1987.1; Cal. Code Civ. P. 2031.060(b); Code Civ. P. § 2020.510(a)
Date: 04/01/2015

When the interests of a nonparty that neither inserted itself into the litigation voluntarily nor its conduct is implicated, there is reason to exercise that discretion in favor of protecting the nonparty’s interests.  The distinction between parties and nonparties reflects the notion that, by engaging in litigation, the parties should be subject to the full panoply of discovery devices, while nonparty witnesses should be somewhat protected from the burdensome demands of litigation.'”  Unzipped Apparel, LLC v. Bader, 156 Cal. App. 4th 123, 133 (2007) TA l "Unzipped Apparel, LLC v. Bader, 156 Cal. App. 4th 123 (2007)" s "Unzipped Apparel, LLC v. Bader, 156 Cal. App. 4th 123, 133 (2007)" c 1  (citations committed) (emphasis added).

In the exercise of its discovery management discretion, a court is authorized to quash a subpoena and to make any other orders that may be appropriate to protect the parties or witnesses from “unreasonable or oppressive demands” as well as “oppression, or undue burden and expense.”  Cal. Civ. P. Code 1987.1 TA l "Cal. Civ. P. Code 1987.1" s "Cal. Civ. P. Code 1987.1" c 3 ; Cal. Code Civ. P. 2031.060(b) TA l "Cal. Code Civ. P. 2031.060(b)" s "Cal. Code Civ. P. 2031.060(b)" c 3 .  “Trial judges must carefully weigh the cost, time, expense and disruption of normal business resulting from an order compelling the discovery against the probative value of the material which might be […]

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