Legal Memorandum: Product Liability Actions involving OSI Discovery

Issue: Under Missouri law, may a plaintiff obtain discovery regarding ‘other similar incidents’ (‘OSI’) involving different products from a defendant in a product liability action?

Area of Law: Litigation & Procedure, Personal Injury & Negligence
Keywords: Other similar incidents ("OSI"); Product liability action; Discovery
Jurisdiction: Federal, Missouri
Cited Cases: 407 S.W.3d 621; 769 S.W.2d 769; 571 S.W.2d 717; 663 F. Supp. 474; 788 F.2d 1070; 50 S.W.3d 836
Cited Statutes: Product Liability Actions involving OSI Discovery
Date: 12/01/2013

A request for other similar incidents (OSI) may be proper.  See State ex rel. Stecher v. Dowd, 912 S.W.2d 462, 464 (Mo. 1995) (“The general rule of discovery is that parties may obtain information regarding any matter relevant to the subject matter involved in the pending action so long as the matter is not privileged.  Rule 56.01(b)(1).  The term “relevant” is broadly defined to include material “reasonably calculated to lead to the discovery of admissible evidence.”); Bar Plan Mut. Ins. Co. v. Chesterfield Mgmt. Assocs., 407 S.W.3d 621, 633-34 (Mo. App. E.D. 2013) (“A trial court does not have discretion to deny discovery of matters that are relevant to a lawsuit and reasonably calculated to lead to admissible evidence.”), transfer denied (Mo. Oct. 1, 2013). Such evidence is highly relevant for the purpose, inter alia, of establishing a dangerous or defective condition.  Pierce v. Platte–Clay Elec. Co-op., Inc., 769 S.W.2d 769, 775 (Mo. banc 1989); Stokes 168 S.W.3d 481, 485-86; see also Herman v. Andrews, 50 S.W.3d 836 (Mo. App. E.D. 2001); Doyle v. St. Louis–San Francisco Ry. Co., 571 S.W.2d 717 (Mo. Ct. App. 1978).

In enforcing the similar federal discovery rule, a Missouri federal district court recently observed that “the mere statement by a party that the interrogatory [or request for production] was ‘overly broad, burdensome, oppressive and irrelevant’ is not adequate to voice a successful objection.”  Meyers v. Casino Queen, Inc., No. 4:11-CV-1273 CEJ, 2013 U.S. […]

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