When Is Written Discovery Actually Vague & Over Broad?

One of the most overused objections to written discovery in my practice is that the discovery request is “vague,” “ambiguous,” “over broad” or some variant on this theme. The vast majority of these types of objections are meritless. Still, there are times when the discovery request is so bad as to be unanswerable, thus justifying such an objection. This occurred in Allstate Ins. Co. v. Balle, 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 134808, 2013 WL 5323968 (D. Nev. Sept. 20, 2013). The order also highlighted however ineffective briefing can be fatal to a party’s aspirations.

As for Request for Production No. 24, the Court finds Plaintiffs’ response that the request was over-broad, vague, and burdensome, was correct. Defendants request all emails, written reports, correspondence or written documents sent between anyone “whoever participated in any way in handling the claims of Claimants.” Id. at 6. There is no qualification or limitation whatsoever on this request. Nonetheless, Plaintiffs indicate that the information Defendants are likely seeking is already in Defendants’ possession. Id. Plaintiffs’ response was neither evasive nor in violation of Fed.R.Civ.P. 34(b).

Id.

Further, Interrogatory 17 is over-broad, vague, compound, and burdensome. Docket No. 296, at 7. It asks for any oral, written, or recorded statement or admission made or claimed to have been made by any party or witness, with no time or relevance limitation, and also seeks the name, date, and address, of the person taking or hearing the statement or admission. See Id. This Interrogatory seeks an expansive amount of information, most of which would not be relevant and, additionally, would be impossible to compile.

Interrogatory 19 requests the basis for the investigations conducted that led to the lawsuit. See Id. at 7-8. In response, Plaintiffs objected that the request was vague, overly broad, calls for a legal conclusion, and seeks to invade attorney-client and work-product privileges. Id. Additionally, without waiving their objection, Plaintiffs state that they noticed suspicious billing and treatment practices and conducted a diligent investigation which confirmed that their suspicions were accurate. See Id. Defendants have not explained why they believe this response is improper and, as stated throughout this Order, the Court will not search for arguments on Defendants’ behalf.

Id.