Friday, March 24, 2006

D.D.C. Defines “Relevance” for Rule 26(b)(1) as “Showing of Need"

Per Anton v. Prospect Cafe Milano, Inc., 233 F.R.D. 216 (D.D.C. Feb. 27, 2006) regarding Rule 26(b)(1):

Rule 26(b)(1) authorizes discovery “regarding any matter, not privileged, that is relevant to the claim or defense of any party.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 26(b)(1). The term “relevance” is broadly construed, and “[r]elevant information need not be admissible at the trial if the discovery appears reasonably calculated to lead to the discovery of admissible evidence.” Id.; Food Lion, Inc. v. United Food & Comm'l Workers Int'l Union, 103 F.3d 1007, 1012 (D.C.Cir.1997); see also Smith v. Schlesinger, 513 F.2d 462, 473 n. 37 (D.C.Cir.1975) (noting that “a party may discover information which is not admissible at trial if such information will have some probable effect on the organization and presentation of the moving party's case”). Put another way, “[a] showing of relevance can be viewed as a showing of need[, as] for the purpose of prosecuting or defending a specific pending civil action, one is presumed to have no need of a matter not relevant to the subject matter involved in the pending action.” Friedman v. Bache Halsey Stuart Shields, Inc., 738 F.2d 1336, 1341 (D.C.Cir.1984). That said, relevancy does not encompass discovery of information with “no conceivable bearing on the case.” Id. (citing 8 Fed. Prac. & Proc.2d § 2008). A trial court enjoys considerable discretion over discovery matters. Id.; United States v. Krizek, 192 F.3d 1024, 1029 (D.C.Cir.1999).


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