• May 19, 2014

Fishing IconLast week, I was critical of a defendant’s stingy discovery responses, based on Plaintiff St. Jude’s brief in support of its motion to compel responses from Defendant Grubiak. Was I unfair? You be the judge (well, literally U.S. Mag. Judge Jeffrey J. Keyes (D. Minn.) will be the judge): here is Grubiak’s response.

In short, Mr. Grubiak objects to St. Jude’s discovery as a “fishing expedition.” In my opinion, this is one of the most tired and over-used clichés in all of U.S. civil litigation. (Also, particularly as we enter into the season, it seems un-Minnesotan to suggest that a fishing expedition, a cherished part of Minnesotan heritage, is a bad thing.)

Minnesota Litigator welcomes opposing viewpoints, criticisms, objections, or corrections.  In fact, I think it is fair to say that I more than welcome the airing of opposing views. I beg readers for opposing views. However, regular readers will note that comments (positive or negative) are actually somewhat infrequent on Minnesota Litigator.  This is presumably because this blog’s readership is relatively small and, more importantly. the most interested parties in particular posts, the parties, the lawyers, the court personnel, whose cases are being discussed, are often very constrained in their ability to comment on cases (if not outright prohibited from commenting by law).

So I have to admit there is at least a risk of unfairness when one takes to criticizing people who cannot easily respond (or cannot respond at all).

So, in the spirit of fairness, I will conclude by conceding a general personal bias in favor of civil plaintiffs that runs through many of my posts on Minnesota Litigator, a bias against  stringent pleading requirements, a bias against restricted discovery, a bias against many laws and rules in our legal system whose function (if not intent) is to make lawsuits more difficult to bring and more difficult to win.

The prevailing winds have been strongly against civil plaintiffs in U.S. litigation for more than twenty years now primarily in federal courts but also to a lesser degree in Minnesota’s state court system and, in my view, a change in direction is overdue.

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