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 a difference)
***Can Ben conduct mental exam on Carl? Does Carl fit within Rule 35? Why or why not?

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