United States District Court, E.D. Missouri, Eastern Division
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
Charles Shaw, United States District Judge
a products liability case in which plaintiff alleges he
suffered injuries on April 28, 2016 when the auxiliary handle
of a RotoZip Model RZ20 hand-held saw he was using detached
from the body of the saw, causing plaintiff to drop the saw
while the blade was still in motion. Plaintiff asserts claims
under theories of negligent and strict products liability for
design defect, failure to warn, and negligent supply of a
dangerous instrumentality. Amended Complaint, Doc. 4.
case is before the Court on defendant Robert Bosch Tool
Corp.'s (“Bosch”) motion to clarify the
Court's Order of August 14, 2019 (Doc. 74), to the extent
it granted in part plaintiff's motion to compel and
directed Bosch to produce documents responsive to
plaintiff's Request for Production No. 28 for claims
based on a saw handle malfunction or on saw handles becoming
loose or detached, for saw models RZ5, RZ10, RZ20, Rotozip
Revolution, Rotozip Rebel, and Rotozip Solaris.
Court directed plaintiff to respond to the motion to clarify
and “specifically address the factual contentions set
forth in the numbered paragraphs in defendant's motion
and, if he opposes defendant's position that discovery is
properly limited to ‘other incidents involving
auxiliary handles of the same design at issue in this
case,' fully explain the relevance of discovery
concerning: (1) saw models not designed, manufactured, or
distributed by defendant; (2) other kinds of handles not at
issue in this case that can be used on relevant saw models;
and (3) a prior version of the auxiliary handle design that
did not have a lock and pin, and instead contained a cover
over the handle release button.” (DTO 78) Plaintiff
responded to the motion to clarify and Bosch has filed a
reply. The motion will be granted in part, as follows.
Rule of Civil Procedure 26(b), as amended December 1, 2015,
imposes a proportionality requirement on the scope of
(1) Scope in General.
Unless otherwise limited by court order, the scope of
discovery is as follows: Parties may obtain discovery
regarding any nonprivileged matter that is relevant to any
party's claim or defense and proportional to the needs of
the case, considering the importance of the issues at stake
in the action, the amount in controversy, the parties'
relative access to relevant information, the parties'
resources, the importance of the discovery in resolving the
issues, and whether the burden or expense of the proposed
discovery outweighs its likely benefit. Information within
this scope of discovery need not be admissible in evidence to
Rule 26(b)(1), Fed.R.Civ.P. “The parties and the court
have a collective responsibility to consider the
proportionality of all discovery and consider it in resolving
discovery disputes.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 26 advisory
committee's notes to 2015 amendment).
standard of relevance in the context of discovery is broader
than in the context of admissibility” but “[s]ome
threshold showing of relevance must be made before parties
are required to open wide the doors of discovery and to
produce a variety of information which does not reasonably
bear upon the issues in the case.” Hofer v. Mack
Trucks, Inc., 981 F.2d 377, 380 (8th Cir. 1992).
“The party who served the discovery must show why the
information is important to the issues and the party opposing
. . . must quantifiably explain the burden of providing the
requested information.” Vallejo v. Amgen,
Inc., 903 F.3d 733, 740 (8th Cir. 2018) (quoting
magistrate judge's order).
Discovery of Early Rotozip Saw Models, and Initial Design
asserts that it did not design, manufacture, or distribute
the Rotozip Revolution, Rotozip Rebel, or Rotozip Solaris
models (the “early Rotozips”), and therefore
contends discovery concerning their handles is not relevant.
responds that discovery should be allowed as to the early
Rotozips because they were recalled in 2002 based on 360
reports of loose or separating handles, and Bosch's
expert Peter Domeny, who was Bosch's Director of Public
Safety when the saw at issue was placed in the stream of
commerce, testified Bosch was aware of the problems with
early Rotozips and “specifically testified that Bosch
relied on, analyzed and considered the failed design of the
early Rotozip latching system.” Pl.'s Resp. at 1.
Plaintiff asserts he should be entitled to discover
“exactly what [Bosch] relied in [sic] its analysis of