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DISCOVERY PROCESS IN CIVIL LITIGATION

The purpose of discovery is to ensure that lawsuits are "'decided by what the facts reveal, not by what facts
are concealed.'"  In re Alford Chevrolet-Geo, 997 S.W.2d 173, 180 (Tex. 1999) (orig. proceeding) (quoting
Jampole v. Touchy, 673 S.W.2d 569, 573 (Tex. 1984) (orig. proceeding)).  Therefore, discovery is not limited
to information that will be admissible at trial.  Jampole, 673 S.W.2d at 573.  Instead, to increase the likelihood
that all relevant evidence will be disclosed and brought before the trier of facts, the law  contemplates a
significantly larger class of discoverable evidence to include anything reasonably calculated to lead to the
discovery of material evidence.  Id.; see also In re Transwestern Publ'g Co., L.L.C., 96 S.W.3d 501, 504 (Tex.
App.- Fort Worth 2002, orig. proceeding) (citing Tex. R. Civ. P. 192.3(a)) (explaining rules governing
discovery do not require, as prerequisite to discovery, that information sought be admissible evidence; it is
enough that information appears reasonably calculated to lead to discovery of admissible evidence).  This
broad grant is limited by the legitimate interests of the opposing party to avoid overly broad requests,
harassment, or disclosure of privileged information.  In re Am. Optical Corp., 988 S.W.2d 711, 713 (Tex. 1998)
(orig. proceeding) (per curiam).  
In re Liberty Mutual Ins. Co., No. 14-09-00086-CV (Tex.App.- Houston [14th Dist.] Feb. 24, 2009)(Seymore)
(
discovery mandamus granted, laches argument overruled, no lack of diligence)
____________

Scope of Discovery Orders

       The scope of discovery is within the trial court’s discretion, but the trial court must make an effort to
impose reasonable discovery limits.  In re CSX Corp., 124 S.W.3d 149, 152 (Tex. 2003).  An order that
compels overly broad discovery is an abuse of discretion for which mandamus is the proper remedy.  Id. at
153 (holding that relator lacked adequate remedy by appeal where discovery order compelled production of
“patently irrelevant” documents); Walker v. Packer, 827 S.W.2d 833, 843 (Tex. 1992) (holding no adequate
appellate remedy exists when an order compels discovery of irrelevant documents constituting harassment or
imposing a burden far out of proportion to any benefit to the requesting party).  Texas Rule of Civil Procedure
192.3 permits a party to “obtain discovery regarding any matter that is not privileged and is relevant to the
subject matter of the pending action, whether it relates to the claim or defense of the party seeking discovery
or the claim or defense of any other party.”  Tex. R. Civ. P. 192.3.  

       Orders requiring discovery covering an unreasonably long time period or distant and unrelated locales
are impermissibly overbroad.  In re Am. Optical, 988 S.W.2d 711, 713 (Tex. 1998); see also Dillard Dep’t
Stores, Inc. v. Hall, 909 S.W.2d 491, 492 (Tex. 1995) (request for every claim file or incident report involving
false arrest, civil rights violations, and use of excessive force from every store in department store’s chain for
last five years was overbroad); K Mart Corp. v. Sanderson, 937 S.W.2d 429, 431 (Tex. 1996) (request for
description of all criminal conduct at defendant’s parking lot during preceding seven years was overbroad).  
Discovery requests must be reasonably tailored to include only matters relevant to the case.  In re Am.
Optical, 988 S.W.2d at 713.  Because discovery is limited to matters that are relevant to the case, requests for
information that are not reasonably tailored as to time, place, or subject matter amount to impermissible
“fishing expeditions.”  See CSX Corp., 124 S.W.3d at 152; see also In re Xeller, 6 S.W.3d 618, 626-27 (Tex.
App.—Houston [14th Dist.] 1999, orig. proceeding).






In re Sedeno-Suarez, MD (Tex.App.- Houston [14th Dist.] Feb. 6, 2009)(per curiam)
(
discovery mandamus denied, order of protection)
MOTION OR WRIT DENIED: Per Curiam  
Before Chief Justice Hedges, Justices Guzman and Brown
14-08-01080-CV        In Re: Heriberto Sedeno-Suarez, M.D.
Appeal from 280th District Court of Harris County

In Re Allstate County Mutual Ins. Co., No. 06-0878  (Tex. Jun. 15, 2007)(per curiam)(discovery limitations)
IN RE ALLSTATE COUNTY MUTUAL INSURANCE COMPANY AND DAVID GONZALEZ; from Hidalgo County;
13th district (13-06-00458-CV, ___ SW3d ___, 09-28-06)
stay order issued October 30, 2006, lifted
Pursuant to Texas Rule of Appellate Procedure 52.8(c), without hearing oral argument, the Court conditionally
grants the petition for writ of mandamus.









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