Anderson v. Hale
2001 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 3774 (N.D. Ill. Mar. 29, 2001)
2001 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 7538 (N.D. Ill. June 1, 2001)
A white supremacist named
Smith went on a shooting rampage and injured Anderson.
Anderson sued Hale, who was
the leader of Smith's white supremacy movement on the grounds that Hale
had encouraged Smith to become violent.
Anderson requested that the
State Bar of Montana turnover Hale's bar application (Hale was an
attorney). Hale objected, using a Rule 60(b) motion.
Anderson argued that the
State Bar might have uncovered information would shed light on Hale's
character and fitness.
Hale argued three things:
The information was
irrelevant and not reasonably calculated to lead to the discovery of
The information had already
been produced by other parties.
The request was not an
effort to obtain evidence, but merely to harass Hale.
Rule 45(c)(1) requires parties to take reasonable steps
to avoid imposing undue burden or expense on the person subject to a
The Trial Court found for
The Trial Court found that
under Rule 26(b)(1), the scope of
discovery should be interpreted broadly. Discovery rules are liberally
construed to provide parties with access to the operative facts of the
Rule 26(b)(1) allowed for the discovery of information
"relevant to the subject matter involved in the pending
The Court felt that the
request was inside the scope of discovery.
A few months later, the Trial
Court admitted an error and vacated its decision. Anderson appealed.
The Trial Court they used
the old version of Rule 26(b)(1),
which has since been amended.
The new version of Rule
26(b)(1), says that "parties
may obtain discovery of any matter that is relevant to the claim or
defense of any party." The Court construed this as a narrowing of
Information is only
relevant if it directly involves
the claims or defenses of the lawsuit.
The Appellate Court found for
Anderson and allowed discovery.
The Appellate Court found
that, even under the new Rule 26
standard, the information Anderson was requesting was still discoverable.
The Court found that the
dividing line between information relevant to "the claims and
defenses", and that relevant only to "the subject matter of the
action" cannot be defined with precision.
Basically the Court
admitted that the standard had changed, but that they didn't see how the
change affected this case.