United States District Court, E.D. Michigan, Southern Division
The Estate of Michaelangelo Jackson, deceased, et al., Plaintiffs,
Richard Billingslea, et al., Defendants.
ORDER DENYING IN PART AND GRANTING IN PART
DEFENDANTS' MOTION FOR RECONSIDERATION AND DENYING
DEFENDANTS' AND PLAINTIFFS' MOTIONS FOR PROTECTIVE
Victoria A. Roberts United States District Judge
Estate of Michaelangelo Jackson brings suit against the City
of Detroit and others for constitutional claims arising from
the deaths of Michaelangelo and Makiah Jackson during a
high-speed police chase.
scheduling order, the Court set the deadline for discovery as
January 4, 2019. During discovery, Defendants retained Dr.
Jerome Eck (“Eck”) and his company Eck
Engineering LLC to produce an expert crash-reconstruction
report. Defendants filed an expert witness disclosure
pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P. 26(a)(2)(B). It contained Eck's
written opinions, the documents he relied on to produce his
opinion, his resume, fee schedule, and a list of cases he has
worked on in the last four years. Plaintiffs subpoenaed Eck
after the close of discovery on March 30, 2019 requiring him
Copies of all IRS form 1099s issued to Eck or Eck Engineering
LLC for any company they rendered an expert opinion for
within the last five years; 2. Proof of payment for those
services rendered; 3. Copies of the last twenty expert
opinions rendered by Eck; 4. Copies of the last ten opinions
written by any employee of Eck Engineering LLC that is not
Eck; and 5. The names of all attorneys the reports were
written for within those five years. The Court held a phone
conference with counsel to resolve disputes over the
subpoena. The Court ordered that Eck must produce his 1099s
for all expert witness services he has provided in the past
filed this motion for reconsideration and motion for a
protective order. Eck hired his own counsel and submitted a
motion for a protective order and motion to quash
Court denies Defendants' and Eck's motions for a
protective order and to quash Plaintiffs' subpoena, but
will grant that part of Defendants' motion for
reconsideration that asks for reconsideration of the
inclusion of personal information.
scope of discovery is governed by Rule 26(b)(1). Fed.R.Civ.P.
26(b)(1). Information within the scope of discovery can
nonetheless be placed under a protective order. Fed.R.Civ.P.
26(c)(1). Additionally, a subpoena for an otherwise
discoverable piece of information may be quashed.
Defendants contend that Eck's 1099s for his expert
witness services are not within the scope of discovery,
should be placed under protective order, and Plaintiffs'
subpoena for them should be quashed. Eck also presents
additional arguments for why he should not be required to
submit to the Court's original order. Despite these
arguments, Eck must produce his 1099s. A. The Scope of
Discovery Eck contends his 1099s are not relevant.
Meanwhile, Defendants argue the 1099s for Eck's other
clients have marginal, if any, relevance. Both of these
arguments relate to the scope of discovery and are ultimately
incorrect. Rule 26(b)(1) permits discovery of “any
nonprivileged matter that is relevant to any party's
claim or defense and proportional to the needs of the case. .
. .” Fed.R.Civ.P. 26(b)(1). This scope is further
limited by (1) the parties' relative access to
information, (2) the parties' resources, (3) the
importance of the discovery, and (4) the balance between the
burden and benefit of complying with discovery. Id.
financial information of an expert witness is squarely within
the scope of discovery if its purpose is to uncover potential
bias. Behler v. Hanlon, 199 F.R.D. 553, 556 (D. Md.
2001); see also Burger v. Allstate Ins. Co., No.
07-11870, 2009 WL 1587396, at *2 (E.D. Mich. June 8, 2009).
In Burger, Plaintiff sought 1099s, payment records,
and other information related to an expert physician's
financial relationship with any defendant he provided expert
witness services for from 2003 to 2008. Burger, 2009
WL 1587396, at *1. The Defendant argued none of this
information was relevant. Id. The Court sided with
the Behler court: holding that information that
relates to the potential bias of an expert witness is
relevant to the witness's credibility, which could
directly affect impeachability. Id. at *2.
any information related to the expert's volume of work,
number of defendants he worked for, the amount paid by those
defendants, and the percentage of income derived from his
expert witness services was found within the scope of
discovery. Burger, 2009 WL 1587396, at *2-3; see
also Great Lakes Anesthesia, PLLC v. State Farm Mut. Auto.
Ins. Co., No. 11-10658, 2011 WL 4507417, at *5-6 (E.D.
Mich. Sept. 29, 2011) (finding financial information of
expert witness is squarely within the scope of discovery).
are within the scope of discovery. Chauvin v. State Farm
Mut. Auto. Ins. Co., No. 10-CV-11735, 2011 WL 2490870,
at *2 (E.D. Mich. June 22, 2011). For example, in
Chauvin, the Plaintiff requested several financial
documents from the Defendant's independent medical
examiner, including 1099s for all insurance companies that
expert provided examinations for over the past four years.
Id. The Court allowed discovery of those 1099s but
permitted the redaction of federal identification and social
security numbers. Id. The 1099s were proper
inquiries by the Plaintiff about the expert's potential
bias, and were, therefore, within the scope of discovery.
Id. at *2-3.
decisions from other district courts to the contrary,
Eck's 1099s for this and other litigants are within the
scope of discovery. Chauvin, Burger, and
Great Lakes make it clear that the Court considers
1099s and similar financial documentation relevant to
impeachability and thus discoverable. ...