Civ Pro Hypo: Discovery
by Haeji Hong
Abigail worked for Corporation X. She always did all her work...but
she also managed to squeeze in some time for her own little excursions
of net surfing during business hours too. One day, she accidentally
accessed the secured files of Corporation X. Abigail read some
stuff without realizing what she had accessed. Then she suddenly
realized that Corporation X has been spying on employees' personal
lives for "labor enhancement" purposes. She immediately
quit her job.
Abigail filed a class action law suit against Corporation X for
violation of federal right to privacy and state action in breach
of contracts in federal court. For purposes of discovery, class
attorney, Ben, asked for the list of names of those in Corporation
X who were or probably involved in the compilation of "labor
enhancement" research and the documentation of the research.
Corporation X's attorney refused citing that the disclosure of
the information would violate privacy rights of legitimate working
people and jeopardize business secret.
***How should the judge rule?
Ben asked for deposition and interrogatories of appropriate personnel
of those working for Corporation X. He gave notice to Carl, the
CEO of Corporation X for deposition separately. Ben also tried
to do an interrogatory of Cherry, the ex-wife of Carl who knew
intimately about Corporation X but never worked in an official
capacity in Corporation X. Corporation X's attorney, Dan, objected
on the grounds that
1) you can't interrogate a non-party
2) husband-wife privilege state law applies to protect Cherry
from answering any questions concerning about her ex-husband's
work at Corporation X
***Is notice without subpoena enough for deposing Carl?
The suit is against Corporation X, not Carl. Is he considered
the opposing party for purposes of discovery, etc.?
***Can Ben interrogate Cherry?
What arguments can Ben make against Dan's objections?
Can state privilege be any defense where the case is tried in
federal court with Hanna Rule?
Corporation X filed a counterclaim against Abigail for her misconduct
as an employee. In addition, Corporation X charges that Abigail
is mentally unstable. She imagined that the files (which she shouldn't
have seen anyway) contained information that weren't there. Dan
wants to conduct mental exam on Abigail. Ben countered by the
fact that Carl has always been paranoid and idolized Nixon. Hence,
this research was conducted out of sheer paranoia by the CEO.
Ben wants mental exam on Carl.
***What's the general standard for mental exam?
***Can Dan conduct mental exam on Abigail? Is she considered the
plaintiff or defendant when Corporation X filed counterclaim?
Does that make a difference? (answer yes, discuss why it makes
***Can Ben conduct mental exam on Carl? Does Carl fit within Rule
35? Why or why not?
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