Friday, June 26, 2015

The Pure Bill of Discovery- when the court makes you an offer that cannot be refused.

News stories about Government intrusions into your private spaces are all over the television and on-line media. But did you know that Maryland has a long, long tradition of permitting private parties to intrude on your privacy in their quest for potential evidence? It is called the "Pure Bill of Discovery," and is described in detail by the Maryland Court of Special Appeals in Johnson v. Franklin, decided May 29, 2015.
It is a mechanism for private litigants to find and preserve facts and data for use in a lawsuit. It doesn't matter that the claim may not be directed at you, it matters only that you have information needed by the person asserting that claim against others. And in this case, it also involved minor non-destructive testing of the property.

This case involved the forced lead paint testing of a home no longer owned by the target defendant, and no longer inhabited by the potential plaintiff--it was owned by a third-person with no attachment to the claim.  The property owner ignored requests to lead test, and then ignored formal discovery requests. But in the end, was ordered to give way and make the property available.

So, it's not just the Government that might force its way into your living spaces, I might pay you a visit, too!

What's on the stove for dinner?