by Michael Fox
Discovery disputes it seems are the bane of trial judges. And often, no doubt caused by far too many hours wasted by lawyers appearing more like petulant kids than rational adults, they tend to treat all lawyers appearing before them as such. And just like parents pushed too far by sibling warfare, sometime react indiscriminately, seeking more to put an end to the dispute than to a precise determination of the right and wrong. All of which is a long of way of saying that discovery disputes are not generally one of the law's finest hours. (Not to mention the great disservice it does to clients whose precious dollars are chewed up in this process.) So it is refreshing to have a clear, crisp opinion which goes to the heart of many of those potential disputes. And soon to be Supreme Court Justice Paul Green has authored just such an opinion, In Re Greyhound Lines (Tx. App. - San Antonio 4/7/04). In short, Justice Green makes it clear that in seeking information about other employee's in a non-class action case, the plaintiff is limited to information about other employees "at the same plant or office, by the same supervisory personnel, and by the same pattern of conduct."
If you are an employment lawyer, particularly on this side of the docket, this is one opinion you will want to keep close by your side. It should be an invaluable ally in the most certain way of prevailing in a discovery dispute, avoiding one.