Citation. 170 F.R.D. 504 (M.D. Ala. 1997)
Brief Fact Summary. The Administratrix, Sheila Roberts Ford, petitioned to depose the commanding officer, Sheriff Bill Franklin, to identify the witnesses and facts surrounding the death of Fred William Roberts.
Synopsis of Rule of Law. Federal Rules of Civil Procedure Rule 27 does not permit pre-complaint discovery and should only be used when it is necessary to preserve testimony that is in danger of not being available at the time of suit.
Held. The court held that the information sought by Sheila Ford could be gathered through discovery if she would file suit. The purpose of the gathering of Franklin’s testimony is to discover it rather than perpetuate it.
Discussion. The court sympathizes with Ford because she does not have the threshold level of evidence to bring a suit against the officers, but Rule 27 does not provide a method of discovery either. Therefore she has no recourse for justice.