Legal Memorandum: Order Compelling Discovery

Issue: Under the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, when is a party entitled to an order compelling discovery?

Area of Law: Litigation & Procedure
Keywords: Order compelling discovery; Broad discovery; Privilege and relevance
Jurisdiction: Federal
Cited Cases: 473 F.3d 532; 30 F. Supp. 627
Cited Statutes: Fed. R. Civ. P. 26(b)(1), 26(b)(2)(C); Fed. R. Evid. 401, 402
Date: 04/01/2015

Rule 26(b)(1) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure provides for broad discovery:

Unless otherwise limited by court order, the scope of discovery is as follows: Parties may obtain discovery regarding any nonprivileged matter that is relevant to any party’s claim or defense–including the existence, description, nature, custody, condition, and location of any documents or other tangible things and the identity and location of persons who know of any discoverable matter. For good cause, the court may order discovery of any matter relevant to the subject matter involved in the action. Relevant information need not be admissible at the trial if the discovery appears reasonably calculated to lead to the discovery of admissible evidence. All discovery is subject to the limitations imposed by Rule 26(b)(2)(C).

“[T]he scope of discovery under the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure is to be liberally construed so as to provide both parties with information essential to the proper litigation on all the facts.”  Mallinckrodt Chemical Works v. Goldman, Sachs & Co., 58 F.R.D. 348, 352-53 (S.D.N.Y. 1973) (citing Patton v. Southern Bell Telephone & Telegraph Co., 38 F.R.D. 428 (N.D. Ga. 1965)).  “[D]iscovery should be relevant where there is any possibility that the information sought may be relevant to the subject matter of the action.”  Id. at 353 (quoting C. Wright, Law of Federal Courts, § 81, 359 n.47 (2d ed. 1970)) (emphasis added in Mallinckrodt); see also McCoy v. Whirlpool Corp., 214 F.R.D. 642, 643-44 (D. Kan. 2003)). 

Discovery […]

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