By Peter Hall
Pennsylvania Law Weekly
October 19, 2009
An electronic discovery request in a dispute over the authenticity of a classic car has prompted a rare opinion from a Pennsylvania court on the emerging issues surrounding the discovery of electronically stored files by litigants in a civil case.
In Brooks v. Frattaroli, PICS Case No. 09-1709 (C.P. Lebanon Oct. 5, 2009), Lebanon County Common Pleas Judge Bradford H. Charles granted the defendants' motion for a protective order, ruling that the plaintiff's discovery request to enter the defendant's property to inspect and copy computer files was overly broad.
Noting a relative dearth of precedent governing discovery of electronically stored information in Pennsylvania, Charles drew on the decisions of federal courts and recent changes to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 34 to arrive at a balancing test that weighs the defendant's right to privacy against the plaintiff's desire to determine the truth.