Brief Fact Summary. Gail Davis (Plaintiff) instituted this defamation action based on a letter written and disseminated by Diana Ross (Defendant). Plaintiff sought one million dollars in compensatory damages and one million dollars in punitive damages.
Synopsis of Rule of Law. Information of Defendant’s net worth may not be discovered until a verdict awarding punitive damages is made.
Facts. In Plaintiff’s defamation action against Defendant based on a letter written and disseminated by the Defendant, the complaint states the Plaintiff was employed as an executive assistant to Defendant. Defendant’s letter to Plaintiff stated that Defendant had to layoff Plaintiff because either her work or personal habits were unacceptable. Plaintiff sued alleging that the letter contained false statements. The district court granted Defendant’s Motion to Dismiss on the ground that the text of the letter was not libelous, as it only expressed Defendant’s dissatisfaction, rather than making a representation of Plaintiff’s job performance. The court of appeals reversed and remanded stating that the letter may have a defamatory interpretation. The case is currently before the court to hear the parties’ cross-motions to compel discovery.
Issue. Whether parties cross motion to compel discovery should be granted?