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Gutshall v. New Prime, Inc.

    Brief Fact Summary.

    Gutshall sought to compel discovery when New Prime, Inc. failed to produce surveillance footage of a collision between a New Prime employee and Gutshall.

    Synopsis of Rule of Law.

    A defendant may not protect surveillance footage of the plaintiff’s medical condition from disclosure under the work-product doctrine in a personal injury action if the plaintiff needs the evidence and cannot obtain the evidence without undue hardship.

    Facts.

    Gutshall sued Tapper, an employee of New Prime, Inc., under respondeat superior after Tapper rear-ended Gutshall within the scope of his employment. Gutshall sought to compel discovery when Tapper and New Prime failed to produce surveillance footage of Gutshall.

    Issue.

    Whether a defendant may protect surveillance footage of the plaintiff’s medical condition from disclosure under the work-product doctrine in a personal injury action.

    Held.

    No. The motion to compel is granted because the plaintiff needs to view the tapes to prepare for trial and the plaintiff cannot obtain the surveillance footage without undue hardship.

    Discussion.

    Information prepared for litigation is typically considered work product but there is an exception to nondisclosure when the opposing party has a substantial need for the information and cannot obtain the information elsewhere.


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