Discovery: Generally

Vulk v. Employers Compensation Ins. Co. [05/15/14] 2014 MTWCC 13 Where an IME physician stated in an affidavit that he did not possess a list of all the insurance companies to which he had provided services in the last five years, and that he did not have a list of all the Rule 35 and insurer- or lawyer-referred workers’ compensation examinations which he had performed in the last five years, the Court granted Respondent’s motion for a protective order against these interrogatories.

Vulk v. Employers Compensation Ins. Co. [05/15/14] 2014 MTWCC 13 The Court granted Respondent’s motion for a protective order where Petitioner sought the names of claimants to which Respondent’s IME physician or Respondent’s third-party adjuster provided services.  The information sought intrudes into the privacy of claimants who are not parties to the action.

Connors v. U.S. Fidelity & Guarantee [03/31/10] 2010 MTWCC 7 This Court has held that discovery done simply for discovery’s sake is a waste of time and money.  Where the insurer admitted that the primary reason it served its discovery on the claimant was in retaliation for the claimant asking those discovery questions of the insurer, the Court will not require the claimant to answer that discovery.
Benton v. Uninsured Employers' Fund [08/14/08] 2008 MTWCC 41The Court has wide discretion to order discovery in certain circumstances pursuant to ARM 24.5.329. Where a party has made a blanket request of this Court to stay its ruling on a motion for summary judgment without proposing the discovery she seeks and establishing how the proposed discovery could preclude summary judgment, a request for a stay of the summary judgment ruling is not well-taken.
Satterlee v. Lumberman's Mutual [07/12/06] 2006 MTWCC 29 A party may be granted leave under Rule 56(f), Mont. R. Civ. P., which is identical to ARM 24.5.329, consistent with the Montana Supreme Court’s ruling in Environmental Contractors, LLC v. Moon, 1999 MT 178, 295 Mont. 268, 983 P.2d 390, to state specifically: (1) the discovery they are seeking; and (2) how the proposed discovery could preclude summary judgment in favor of the other party.
Burnside Lund v. St. Paul [12/06/01] 2001 MTWCC 62 Discovery is not a game. The Court expects counsel to engage in discovery in a spirit of cooperation and collegiality. Hard ball tactics are condemned.
Householder v. Republic Indemnity Co. [12/05/01] 2001 MTWCC 61 Parties are bound by and must follow the rules of discovery of the Workers' Compensation Court.
Witlock v. Fremont Industrial Indemnity [9/20/01] 2001 MTWCC 54 Discovery which has no bearing on the issues of the case will not be permitted.
Witlock v. Fremont Industrial Indemnity [9/20/01] 2001 MTWCC 54 A party is not required to provide detailed information concerning the prospective testimony of witnesses who are under the control of the party propounding the discovery.
Liberty NW v. State Fund [6/1/01] 2001 MTWCC 32 Where the claimant is alleged to have sustained a subsequent aggravation of a preexisting condition or injury, the specific facts regarding a subsequent incident may be important to medical opinions. Thus, the accuracy of claimant's report concerning the subsequent incident is relevant to the aggravation issue. The discussions he had with supervisors is relevant to that determination and are discoverable.
Liberty NW v. State Fund [6/1/01] 2001 MTWCC 32 The test for permissible discovery is not that the discovery will produce relevant evidence but that it may lead to relevant evidence.
Kline v. Farmers Insurance Group [1/18/00] 2000 MTWCC 4 Discovery procedures and rules of the WCC apply only to litigated cases, not to the day-to-day adjustment of claims which are not in litigation.
McFerran v. Consolidated Freightways [10/21/99] 1999 MTWCC 63 Trial setting vacated where parties did not comply with discovery deadlines and rules set out in WCC rules and orders. Claimant failed to provide copies of medical records of physician whose opinion he intended to introduce at trial, relying instead on assertion that exchange of copy of opinion letter was sufficient. When surprised by the opinion letter, respondent should have moved for an extension of deadlines set in the Scheduling Order, rather than proceed on the assumption new information produced in response to the opinion letter would be admissible though late. If objecting to late information, claimant should have noted that objection in the Pretrial Order. Litigation in the WCC is not a game of hide the ball. The rules and orders of the Court require full, fair, and early disclosure of information and evidence relevant to the case. Counsel who disregard deadlines and disclosure requirements do so at their peril.
Liberty NW Ins. Corp. v. Behr [6/19/98] 1998 MTWCC 54 Where an insurer had filed a petition for declaratory judgment that an individual was an employee at the time of an explosion allegedly causing her injury, and the individual had already filed a lawsuit in federal court relating to the incident, the WCC quashed the insurer's motion to compel IME, depositions notices, and subpoenas, all filed within eleven days of the petition, before respondent had even had the chance to respond. All further discovery was stayed until respondent has a chance to answer the petition and these motions and issues are fully briefed and decided.
Fitch v. Liberty Mutual Fire Ins. Co. [12/30/97] 1997 MTWCC 70A-2 Claimant moved for a protective order based on allegations that respondent's counsel intimidated and frightened her friends, coworkers, and family through seeking information about her and through hiring private investigators to videotape her activities. Following a full-day hearing, and briefing by the parties, the Court concluded there was not a scintilla of evidence to support claimant's serious allegations. Evidence of questioning of one witness by respondent's counsel indicated his demeanor and questions were exemplary. The videotaping was conducted over a period of several weeks, but only in public settings, in which claimant had no reasonable expectation of privacy. Moreover, she can hardly claim emotional distress during the surveillance when she did not know about the surveillance as it occurred.
Wall v. National Union Fire Ins. Co. [11/4/97] WCC No. 9701-7682 Where an attorney agrees to a deposition or other discovery, the Court will hold the attorney to the agreement.
Wall v. National Union Fire Ins. Co. [11/4/97] WCC No. 9701-7682 In lieu of a deposition of a physical therapist for the sole purpose of obtaining a translation of illegible notes, the parties may agree to a procedure for the therapist to submit a typewritten translation of the notes.
Baugus v. State Fund [4/23/97] 1997 MTWCC 21 Where a district court ruling makes a WCC proceeding essentially an extension of a criminal case charging petitioner with felony theft of workers' compensation benefits, and financial records seized pursuant to an overbroad search warrant have been suppressed in district court, the WCC need not decide whether Montana law permits illegally seized evidence to be admitted in a civil case. The evidence must be suppressed in this proceeding as in the parent proceeding in district court.
Estate of James Jacques v. Borden, Inc. [4/22/97] 1997 MTWCC 20 Respondent's motion to compel production of medical records of claimant's twin sister, to support an argument claimant suffered from a hereditary, rather than work-related, mental condition, is denied. A party can only be compelled to produce those documents and items which are in his/her possession or under his/her control. That limitation is basic and elementary and needs no citation. A party's medical records are within his or her control. The medical records of third parties are not.
Glaude v. State Compensation Ins. Fund [09/05/95] 1995 MTWCC 68 Where issues before the Court include whether claimant was an independent contractor and the true identity of her employer in a multiple contractor situation, claimant must answer discovery seeking information about her employment and income.

Mavity v. Champion International [04/13/95] 1995 MTWCC 27 Trial counsel embroiled in expert witness dispute are admonished that the Court takes a dim view of gamesmanship in the discovery process. Attorneys are expected to make full and fair disclosure and to cooperate with each other. With the Court’s impatience with pretrial games well known, it is prepared to impose sanctions for abuses.