Davis v. Ross

107 F.R.D. 326 (1985)


Davis (P) sued Ross (D) for defamation. P sought one million in punitive damages. D wrote a letter that told people P had been let go because P's work or personal habits were not acceptable to D. The court granted a motion to dismiss in that the letter was not libelous on its face but only expressed D's personal dissatisfaction and not a representation about P's job performance. The court of appeals reversed stating that the letter was susceptible to several interpretations one of which was defamatory. The court then heard motions relating to discovery. P seeks discovery of three sets of data. P wishes to obtain information concerning D's net worth and annual income. P argues that this material is discoverable because evidence of a defendant's wealth is relevant in an action for punitive damages. P's second discovery request is for documents reflecting billings by the law firm of Loeb & Loeb. P argues that this material is discoverable because D has stated that an attorney will be an important witness; therefore, P asserts, the amount of fees Ross paid the attorney would be relevant to the issue of the attorney's bias and credibility. P's third request is to discover the names of other employees who have complained about D, and the nature of their complaints. D also brought a motion for information related to P’s psychiatric treatment during the time that P worked for D. D argues that P put her mental condition in issue when she sued to recover for 'great mental pain and anguish.'