Brief Fact Summary. A first Defendant, former Sotheby’s chairman Alfred Taubman, is moving to compel a second Defendant, Christie’s International, to respond to Tauman’s interrogatories concerning notes that were handwritten by Christie’s former CEO, Christopher Davidge.
Synopsis of Rule of Law. Federal Rules of Civil Procedure 33(a) requires that a party served with an interrogatory to respond with all information that is available, which includes information that they could compel from a third party.
The determining factor is the forthrightness and vigor with which the representative party can be expected to assert and defend the interests of the members of the class.View Full Point of Law
Issue. The issue is whether Christie’s is obligated to further compel Davidge to respond to the interrogatory.
Held. The court held that per the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure 33(a), Christie’s had an obligation to respond with all information that is available, and that includes information that they could obtain. In the court’s opinion, Christie’s had yet to use all the means at its disposal to force Davidge to comply. They could withhold the $2 million still owed Davidge, or they could refuse to indemnify him since he would be in violation of the agreement. The court analogized it to blocking statutes and explained that there was no countervailing reason to prevent the interrogatory. There was also little concern over Fifth Amendment rights since the court was already granting immunity and it was doubtful that it would protect him from civil litigation.
Discussion. The court noted that Christie’s was motivated to prevent Davidge from responding because they were the party that would be most damaged by his answers, and therefore gave less weight to Christie’s concerns for Davidge’s rights.