Judge Robinson: Plaintiffs not permitted to use information as a sword and a shield

Judge Robinson recently decided several discovery disputes between the parties in State of Florida v. Abbott Labs., C.A. 08-155-SLR (D. Del. June 23, 2009). Among other things, plaintiffs objected to defendants’ request for “rebates plaintiffs negotiate and receive for fenofibrate products.” Id. at 1. Plaintiffs objected on the grounds that the request sought (1) confidential information, and (2) that the information was not relevant. Judge Robinson rejected plaintiffs objections because: (1) if relevant, the information is discoverable. “Any problems with confidentiality can be resolved through a protective order . . . [;]” and (2) the rebates are relevant because plaintiffs broadly claimed their damages and so “cannot shield the rebate information from discovery . . . .” Id. at 2.

Among other things, defendants objected to plaintiffs’ request for settlement agreements. Judge Robinson reiterated her general practice to not “order the disclosure of settlement agreements, as such disclosure inhibits the very laudable purpose of settlement.” Id. at 3.

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