Brief Fact Summary.
Cases arising out of a hotel fire that involved almost 2000 plaintiffs and 200 defendants were consolidated for discovery purposes. One codefendant moved to compel discovery of videotapes and photographs from another codefendant. The holder of the tapes and photographs sought reimbursement of half the cost of reproducing the materials. The district court ordered all served defendants to share in the expense. A codefendant filed a writ of mandamus to challenge the expense sharing order.
Synopsis of Rule of Law.
The party seeking issuance of a writ of mandamus has the burden of showing that its right to the extraordinary relief is clear and indisputable, and that other means of redress are inadequate.
It is crucial to the efficient administration of justice.View Full Point of Law
Litigation that arose out of a San Juan hotel fire involved almost 2000 plaintiffs and 200 defendants. The proceedings were consolidated for discovery purposes, all before one district court. One codefendant moved to compel discovery of videotapes and photographs from another. The holder of the tapes and photographs initially claimed that the material was work product, and therefore immune from discovery. Thereafter, however, the holder of the tapes and photographs agreed to waive the work product privilege in exchange for reimbursement of half the cost of reproducing the materials. The district court ordered all of the served defendants to share in the discovery reproduction expense. Codefendant Recticel Foam Corp. filed a petition for a writ of mandamus to challenge the cost sharing order.
Should the writ of mandamus be granted to address Recticel’s grievances regarding the discovery cost sharing order?
No. The petition for the writ of mandamus was improvidently brought and was denied.
For a writ of mandamus to be granted, a party must normally show a risk of irreparable harm and clear entitlement to the relief requested. In this case, there was no irreparable harm because Recticel Foam Corp’s rights regarding the cost sharing order could be resolved during an appeal taken during the ordinary course of the proceedings. Also, regarding any irreparable harm, the district court was in the best position to determine the rights and protections of the parties in the discovery process.