Brief Fact Summary.
Plaintiff alleged de jure racial segregation in Baltimore’s public housing. Plaintiff filed a motion to compel discovery.
Synopsis of Rule of Law.
Under Rule 26(b), the scope of discovery is limited to unprivileged facts relevant to the claim or defense of any party and a balancing of cost-benefit factors conducted first by the parties.
Although the amendments to Rule 26(b)(1) do not dramatically alter the scope of discovery, unless expanded by the court for good cause shown, it is intended that the scope of discovery be narrower than it was, in some meaningful way.View Full Point of Law
African American residents (Plaintiffs) of Baltimore’s public housing developments sued the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, the secretary of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, the Housing Authority of Baltimore City, and the Mayor and City Council of Baltimore (Defendants). Plaintiff alleged de jure racial segregation in Baltimore’s public housing. The parties entered a consent decree for some of the matters. Plaintiff then filed a motion to compel discovery. Defendants argued the requests were overbroad and burdensome.
Is it proper for the court to undertake a Rule 26(b) analysis before the parties have made a good faith effort to resolve the disputed scope of discovery?
No, the motion to compel discovery was denied without prejudice.
The Court determined that it was up to the parties to negotiate the permissible scope of discovery by balancing the factors under Rule 26(b). After both parties have fully and in good faith considered the factors, the Court can intervene if no resolution has been achieved.