The Watcher Cat

The Watcher Cat

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Another SNAP Discovery Update

In view of my previous post regarding the further third-party discovery ordered against SNAP by the court, I am glad to report that SNAP has posted a copy of the April 26, 2012 court order mandating further deposition testimony and document production by SNAP. A less technical account of the order's contents may be found here.

The order itself is a mix of standard housekeeping--requiring privilege logs for documents claimed to be privileged, requiring the parties to agree to a Protective Agreement that will allow for the sealing of confidential records, ordering SNAP to search for responsive documents to requests it did not do so before--all this is fairly commonplace.

As the Kansas City Star summarizes:
The records in question are almost identical to those she ordered Clohessy to produce at a January deposition, including documents in SNAP’s possession related to the diocese. They also include press releases and correspondence with reporters, the plaintiff and his lawyers, and members of the public.

She also ordered SNAP to produce correspondence with the public on the topic of “repressed memory,” but only as it relates to cases involving the local diocese. Earlier, defense lawyers had asked for all repressed-memory correspondence without any limitation.

Mesle also narrowed the focus of the document request slightly, saying records must pertain to “sexual and other misconduct of priests.”
A few wins for SNAP in the order, as well--names and identifying information about non-plaintiffs who sought information or assistance from SNAP is protected from discovery. The court ordered production of eight categories of documents from SNAP, some of which are clearly germane if SNAP has any responsive documents, and several of which go beyond the case, plumbing into SNAP's reportage of alleged abuse or other wrongdoing by priests in the diocese, even not involving defendants in the case, cases of alleged repressed memory by victims from within the diocese (the defendants wanted cases nationwide, for reasons that are, frankly, unfathomable if one is looking for relevant discovery). In general, the court did a reasonable job, except as to allowing discovery into SNAP's drafting of press releases, communications with the press and public--remember, SNAP isn't a party here--and in allowing discovery into non-parties'comunications with SNAP. The legitimacy of such discovery is not apparent to me, and I've done a fair amount of discovery in my time.

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