Site Inspections for Camera Locations

Occasionally I have cases where the opponents refuse to believe that whatever event is at issue was not recorded on a camera. The popular idea that everything is on camera is a complete myth. It seems this issue was disputed in A-12-661080-C, resulting in a hearing before Discovery Commissioner Bulla on June 14, 2013. I have not read anything about this case other than some of the minute orders, but it seems the plaintiff alleged he sustained personal injuries while in a club. He refused to believe the club that whatever happened was not recorded.

The minute order states:

COMMISSIONER RECOMMENDED, motion CONTINUED 30 days; counsel must conduct a Rule 34 Inspection of the nightclub, Pltf must be present to confirm where he sat, and someone from Defts’ side will be present and available to explain camera locations. Further, take a 30(b)(6) deposition re: the nightclub’s preservation of surveillance tapes, what triggers preservation, and policies and procedures; after Inspection and depositions, counsel must supplement briefs, and return on July 17 for Commissioner to advised counsel if an Evidentiary Hearing is needed, or a Bass-Davis instruction. … Mr. Nunez described the protocol for preserving tapes, counsel received contact information to locate the former employee who reviewed the tape (Lisa Haymada-Tien), and Mr. Nunez is trying to locate her for deposition. Commissioner advised counsel location of security camera system will be PROTECTED (provide a diagram and put exhibits Under Seal). Colloquy. Commissioner advised counsel Pltf must have access to the camera room to see what cameras show. Mr. Martin requested a security consultant at the Inspection. Commissioner agrees Pltf and Defts’ consultants can be present at Inspection. COMMISSIONER RECOMMENDED, Pltf should be able to manipulate cameras as discussed in Open Court; Deft will not move cameras before the Inspection.

My take is all of this became necessary because the club could not cogently explain where its cameras were that night and what they showed. If those facts could have been clearly identified and provided, I suspect the rest would not have been necessary. I do not read this ruling as giving opposing parties carte blanche to conduct inspections because they do not like the facts.