October 18, 2010
Motley Rice attorney Leah Donaldson contributes to MCLE publication
Motley Rice attorney Leah Donaldson contributed to the newly released book, A Practical Guide to Discovery and Deposition in Rhode Island, published by Massachusetts Continuing Legal Education (MCLE).
Leah's chapter, "Discovery in Mass Tort Litigation/Consolidated Cases," uses her mass tort litigation experience, most recently with Christopher Thorpe and Laura Thorpe v. Davol, Inc. and C.R. Bard, Inc., as examples in her contribution. The chapter includes basic information about mass torts and discovery.
"Once a mass tort is established and/or as litigation unfolds, a preservation order or case management order may be entered. Such an order may include the following provisions: requiring each party to preserve all documents and other records containing information that is potentially relevant to the litigation and all physical evidence on potential evidence; prohibiting parties from destruction of automated data; and/or requiring advance notice to opposing counsel, and their consent or the court's permission, before any tests may be conducted on physical evidence."
She also provides insight to attorneys working complex cases, such as how to handle confidentiality and discovery.
"Unfortunately, protective and confidentiality orders are routinely abused. For example, often protective and confidentiality orders will call for good-faith basis prior to designating a document as ?confidential.' One type of abuse occurs when a defendant over-designates or uses ?blanket' confidentiality designations, where every document produced is designated ?confidential' even where no good-faith exists for such a designation. This issue was recently addressed by the Rhode Island Superior Court."
Included in the chapter are examples of a Protective and Confidentiality Order and an Order of Master Discovery Sets, as well as a multistate survey of statutory and case law on the subject of ex parte communication with a plaintiff's treating physician.
The book is a compilation of important cases in recent Rhode Island judicial history, including a detailed discussion of Langley v. Providence, a precedent-setting 2009 decision that examined the attorney-client privilege in Rhode Island. It also addresses the use of corporate websites and individuals' Facebook pages as methods of discovery.
Leah practices in a variety of areas and currently represents individuals alleging harm by defective medical devices, including the Composix® Kugel® Mesh hernia patches in Rhode Island state court and hundreds of federal cases transferred to Rhode Island District Court, MDL No. 07-1842 ML.