Discovery: Relevancy and Materiality

T.B. v. Montana State Fund [09/29/15] 2015 MTWCC 18 The Court held that Respondent’s request for production of certain posts, photographs, and other information which Petitioner had posted on her Facebook page and which related to Petitioner’s ability to use her hands, engage in physical activity, and work, was reasonably calculated to lead to the discovery of admissible evidence.  The Court ordered Petitioner to produce these materials even though she had designated them as “private” on her Facebook page.

Vulk v. Employers Compensation Ins. Co. [05/15/14] 2014 MTWCC 13 The Court held that Petitioner’s interrogatory which asked for a list of insurance companies for which an IME physician had performed services to lack relevancy.

Overholt v. Liberty Northwest Insurance [02/26/13] 2013 MTWCC 5 Discovery is very broad.  Medical records relating to Petitioner’s industrial injury, any previous relevant medical records, and records relating to a claim Petitioner filed in another state are discoverable, even though Respondent denied liability on other grounds.

Baldwin v. Old Republic Ins. Co. [06/21/12] 2012 MTWCC 20 Where Petitioner seeks information regarding the insurer’s delay in her claim as she pursues a penalty and attorney fees, how the insurer handled other claimants’ claims is not relevant to these issues and her motion to compel the insurer to respond to an interrogatory regarding other claimants’ claims is denied.

Salazar v. Montana State Fund [12/28/11] 2011 MTWCC 28 Documents which may help establish the elements for proving a bad faith claim have no relevance to an allegation of unreasonableness under the Workers’ Compensation Act.
Connors v. U.S. Fidelity & Guarantee [03/31/10] 2010 MTWCC 7 Where the only issues for the Court to determine involve the claimant’s entitlement for attorney fees and a penalty due to the insurer’s alleged unreasonableness in adjusting the claim, the insurer’s requests for discovery of information such as the claimant’s previous employers and past medical providers are not relevant.  The insurer cannot learn things through discovery which it can use to retroactively justify its previous adjusting of the claim.

State Fund v. In Re: Cox [9/30/03] 2003 MTWCC 60 Where paternity of natural child of deceased worker is not in dispute, discovery concerning paternity and the relationship between the deceased and the child is immaterial and is not reasonably calculated to lead to admissible evidence. Protective order barring the discovery is granted.