Module 2- Courts and Alternative Dispute Resolution
Case 3-3 “Discovery”
Should a party to a lawsuit have to hand over its confidential business secrets as part of a discovery request? Why or why not? What limitations might a court consider imposing before requiring ATC to produce this material?
The party to the law suit should hand over information during the discovery phase. However, discovery is allowed only if the information is relevant to the claim or defense of any party. Now handing over confidential business secrets to the opposing party should be up to the defendant’s discretion to decide whether he or she may want to pass that sensitive information. In page 72 under “Discovery” it explains that a court can deny the request and can limit the scope of discovery in a number of ways. ATC not only has to worry about protecting their business during the lawsuit but they also have to protect their customer’s right to privacy, especially if they are not involved in that lawsuit. Courts are willing to protect the privacy of third parties and can put limits on how much information can be put out about someone who is not in the lawsuit. The book explains; “That a court can require the party to submit the materials to the judge in a sealed envelope so that the judge can decide if they should be disclosed to the opposing party.” There are limitations that a court might consider imposing but the extent of its protection varies from state to state. However, the only limitations that may be considered before requiring ATC to provide other material information that is relevant to the claim.