Monday, October 24, 2005

Amici Are Non-Parties Not Subject to Compelled Discovery of Documents Relating to Bias

The court in North Carolina Right to Life, Inc. v. Leake, 231 F.R.D. 49 (D.D.C. Oct. 06, 2005) recently held that a plaintiff could not compel the production of documents from entities filing an amicus brief in an effort to demonstrate amici's bias because they were unrelated non-parties whose bias was not relevant:

The relevance of the documents requested in the instant case is asserted to be their ability to reveal bias. Bias, Plaintiff asserts, is always relevant. The bias that is relevant, however, is that of a witness or party in the case, not of an unrelated non-party. The mere filing of an amicus brief . . . does not open oneself to broad discovery demands, nor does it make one's bias, if any, relevant to the underlying action. Credibility of amici is a determination to be made by the trial judge, not a question that the parties should pursue in discovery.


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