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John
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Experience:  Licensed and practicing attorney.
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interrogatories

Resolved Question:

Regarding a workplace related defamation case, during the interrogatories can you be compelled to answer questions about your personal life which are outside the scope of the case itself? For example,could you be compelled to reveal finances or investments? What you do in the privacy of your own home? Or, what movies have you downloaded on your satellite? What about disclosure of your web browsing activities, etc?


Thanks.

Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Legal
Expert:  John replied 1 year ago.
Hi, My name is XXXXX XXXXX I’m happy to assist you with your question today.

First, here is the standard for discovery "Parties may obtain discovery regarding any non privileged matter that is relevant to any party's claim or defense—including the existence, description, nature, custody, condition, and location of any documents or other tangible things and the identity and location of persons who know of any discoverable matter. For good cause, the court may order discovery of any matter relevant to the subject matter involved in the action. Relevant information need not be admissible at the trial if the discovery appears reasonably calculated to lead to the discovery of admissible evidence."

What this basically means is that discovery is pretty broad in what a party can ask for as it only needs to be loosely related to a matter in the case. I do not know what the allegations of defamation are in your case - I'm guessing they are work related as to your performance or actions at work. I do not see how the matters you are describing are "designed to lead to discovery" of matters related to that. You have two options here 1) simply answer it with an objection that the question is not relevant; 2) answer it by objecting to the question as not reasonably designed to lead to the discovery of relevant information.

I believe this answers your question. However, if you need clarification or have follow-up questions regarding this matter, I will be happy to continue our conversation – simply reply to this answer. If you are otherwise satisfied with my response, please leave a positive rating as it is the only way I am able to get credit for my answers. Thank you, XXXXX XXXXX wish you all the best with this matter.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.

John, thank you for your reply.


 


I am a healthcare contracts negotiator. The matter involves extremely challenging and heated negotiations subsequent to an RFP and possible contract renewal for medical products worth say roughly $150 M dollars per year, for 3 to 5 years, (big money sir) with a very large well known vendor resorting to dirty tricks to get me off the negotiations ( I was winning big time).


 


The vendor has filed an false ethics complaint with us, which means under our Code of Ethics Policy, I was immediately suspended by HR pending investigation. Because their allegations are all hearsay, but nothing can be proven yes or no, (use your imagination) I will most likely be terminated. The old "these are some pretty bad allegations, hmm, must have some merit, if not even s,o just the appearance of such means we followed our HR process, and there is nothing we can do, so we have to let you go routine...


 


Hence, terminated or not, my only real potential remedy is against the vendor in the form of a defamation action. Or possibly a case could be made they conspired to gain a contract, I am sure you see where I am going with all that. Very heady stuff.


 


I assume, if I moved forward, we would eventually settle in a few years, as most all suits of this nature do, but my concern was their ability to probe my personal life, marriage(s), courthouse records, digital footprint, financial records, emails, phone calls, or whatever activities, etc.


 


So, if I understand your reply, you are saying such inquiries are answered by questioning the relevance to the case. Seems it still leaves the door pretty wide open. Kind of what I figured. What I was looking for is that / shouldn't that / scrutiny be confined to my work at the office only?


Then, what kind of housekeeping do you to face that eventuality?


 


 


As I did not share all of the sob story prior, thanks, XXXXX XXXXX and I will be glad to affirm satisfaction so you can get paid!!


 


Feel free to comment if you wish.


 


Best Regards.


 


 

Expert:  John replied 1 year ago.
Thanks for the reply,

answering your questions:

What I was looking for is that / shouldn't that / scrutiny be confined to my work at the office only? -- I suppose this depends on what their alleged ethic violation entailed. Their really are only two defenses to defamation - 1) the statement was true or 2) the statement was an opinion...stating that something occurred that didn't is not an opinion so they only have one defense - it was a truthful statement. So by my thinking the only things that may be discoverable are facts that tend to prove or lead to facts that show th truth of the ethics violation. Thus, it is not a question of whether the interrogatory goes to something at work or home but rather it tends to show that the statement was true.

 

 

Hope this helps. Thanks

Customer: replied 1 year ago.

John, excellent, yes, very helpful, thanks.

Expert:  John replied 1 year ago.

You're welcome. Please leave a positive rating before you exit this chat as it is the only way I get credit for my answers. You are not charged any additional fee by the website for positively rating my question, but if you do not positively rate my question I do not get credit for my answers. If you have any questions in the future regarding this matter come back to this thread and I'll be happy to answer. Thanks and good luck with the matter.

John, Attorney
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 3119
Experience: Licensed and practicing attorney.
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