Trial Notebook: Discovery (Workers Compensation)

Tax Records

Income tax records are not "automatically discoverable upon a de minimus showing of relevancy." Certainly the compelling interest in an individual's right to privacy must be accommodated in the discovery process. Otherwise, the discovery process would become a device for the unscrupulous litigant to squeeze concessions from the opposing side in cases where such concessions were totally unwarranted. This sort of abuse simply cannot be tolerated in an ordered system of justice. See Bornstein v. Blumenfeld, 151 Ga. App. 420, 260 S.E.2d 377 (1979). Evidence of an impeaching nature must itself relate to a relevant issue in the case. A witness' possible lack of credibility concerning matters otherwise irrelevant to any issue in dispute does not thereby become material to the case as an issue of impeachment. See generally Grant v. Hart, 197 Ga. 662, 30 S.E.2d 271 (1944) and Daniels v. Luton, 40 Ga. App. 741, 151 S.E. 659 (1929). All cited in E.H. Siler Realty and Business Broker, Inc. v. Sanderlin, et al., 158 Ga. App. 796, 282 S.E.2d 381 (1981).

Income Tax Records: Plaintiff objects to Production Request on the grounds that it seeks information that is neither relevant, nor reasonably calculated to lead to the discovery of admissible evidence, and was interposed for the purpose of harassment. Plaintiff further objects that Interrogatory exceeds the scope of permissible discovery in that it seeks information concerning collateral sources of income, and other information that is neither admissible at trial nor reasonably calculated to lead to the discovery of admissible evidence. See, e.g., Southern Ry. Co. v. Hand, 216 Ga. App. 370 (1995). Although income tax returns are not privileged, they are not automatically discoverable upon a de minimis showing of relevancy, see, e.g., E.H. Siler v. Sanderlin, 158 Ga. App. 796 , 282 S.E.2d 381 (1981); Ledee v. Devoe, 225 Ga. App. 620, 484 S.E.2d 344 (1997), and when not clearly required in the interests of justice. See Bornstein v. Blumenfeld, 151 Ga. App. 420, 260 S.E.2d 377 (1979).

Pursuant to the foregoing objections and expressly subject thereto, Plaintiff will not produce income tax records without an appropriate order from the Court.

Additionally, if a party seeks production of a joint tax return, the spouse has a privacy right that cannot be waived by another. See Ledee v. Devoe, 225 Ga. App. 620, 484 S.E.2d 344 (1997)

Knox Enterprises v. Timberman, Inc., 215 Ga. App. 390, 450 S.E.2d 834 (1994).

Production of all Documents Intended for use as Evidence at Trial of this Case

Such documents are not discoverable "according to the interrogatory question as listing all witnesses who will be called at trial" which is outside the permissible scope of discovery. All cited in E.H. Siler Realty and Business Broker, Inc. v. Sanderlin, et al., 158 Ga. App. 796, 282 S.E.2d 381 (1981).

Witness Statements/Objections

O.C.G.A. § 9-11-26(b)(3); states that discovery of statements may be obtained "only upon a showing that the party seeking discovery has substantial need of the materials in the preparation of the case." In ordering discovery the court shall protect against the disclosure of mental impressions, conclusions, opinions or legal theories of an attorney or other representatives. This case overrules Clarkston Industries, Inc. v. Price, 135 Ga. App. 787, 218 S.E.2d 921 (1975). See Tobacco Road, Inc. v. Callaghan, 174 Ga. App. 539, 330 S.E.2d 768 (1985). See also Womack v. Mini-Skools, Ltd., 164 Ga. App. 737, 297 S.E.2d 365 (1982).

Names of actual witness to be used at trial. Not provide names: Grant v. Huff, 122 Ga. App. 783, 178 S.E.2d 734 (1970); Nathan v. Duncan, 113 Ga. App 630, 149 S.E.2d 383 (1966).

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