Discovery: Objections to Discovery

Re: John David Miller - The St. Paul Travelers Companies Inc. v. Liberty Northwest Ins. Co. [10/26/07] 2007 MTWCC 44 Where Respondent objected to or provided incomplete responses to Petitioner’s requests for production and interrogatory regarding a complete claims file, including, but not limited to all claims correspondence, claims adjusting notes, and communications with and between Respondent’s medical director, the Court found Respondent’s assertion that the requests were irrelevant and not calculated to lead to the discovery of admissible evidence to be unreasonable and awarded attorney fees and costs.
Flynn and Miller v. Montana State Fund and Liberty Northwest Ins. Corp. [11/05/04] 2004 MTWCC 75 The right of privacy extends only to information as to which an individual has a reasonable expectation of privacy as measured by societal expectations. Pengra v. State, 2000 MT 291, 302 Mont. 276, 14 P.3d 499; Jefferson County v. Montana Standard, 2003 MT 304, 318 Mont. 173, 79 P.3d 805. Claimants in workers' compensation cases do not have a reasonable expectation of privacy with respect to their identities and information pertaining to their entitlement to benefits, at least with respect to attorneys who have established their entitlement to further benefits under the common fund doctrine and where the attorneys are prohibited from disseminating information regarding their identities and claims to others.
Vraspir v. State Fund [4/6/04] 2004 MTWCC 32 Where, other than broad statements about copyright law, the claimant has failed to cite any authority for the proposition that copies of copyrighted material may not be copied in connection with litigation in which the materials are relied upon by witnesses, and has entirely overlooked the fair use doctrine, the objection to production and copying of pertinent portions of the materials is overruled.
Vraspir v. State Fund [4/6/04] 2004 MTWCC 32 Where a party objects to discovery and in response to a motion to compel provides no legal authority for the objection other than general statements not addressing the specific issue, the objection will be overruled.
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.
Fisch v. State Fund [9/13/00] 2000 MTWCC 55 Where a party fails to timely object to discovery, its objections shall generally be deemed waived except as to materials that a non-party has a privilege or constitutionally protected interest. Whether the doctrine should be extended to personal privileges of a party, the Court reserves judgment. Further, even though objections are waived, the Court will not compel answers to patently irrelevant, wholly improper, or patently burdensome and onerous discovery.
Tuma v. Connecticut Indemnity Co. [10/16/96] 1996 MTWCC 66 Claimant ordered to produce medical records related to treatment for alcoholism and/or drug addiction where he claimed the records were privileged, but did not argue they were not possibly relevant to litigation of his claim. Although section 53-24-206, MCA, relates to confidentiality of such records, "[a] claimant for Workers' Compensation benefits waives any privilege of confidentiality in health care information which is relevant to the subject matter involved in his claim." Bowen v. Super Value Stores, 229 Mont. 84, 94, 745 P.2d 330, 337 (1987).
Tuma v. Connecticut Indemnity Co. [10/16/96] 1996 MTWCC 66 The fact that medical records are not presently in a claimant's possession does not relieve him of the obligation to obtain the records or provide a release that will enable the insurer to obtain the records.