Firm obtains key ruling in unsettled area of California evidence law: surveillance

April 4, 2011 -- PE&G's client was severely injured when she was ejected from a car driven by defendant. Hoping to disprove her claims of injury, defendant hired an investigator to conduct surveillance of plaintiff. The firm sought to obtain all surveillance footage, as well as the investigator's reports. Defendant refused to turn over the materials. In what appears to be a case of first impression in the State, Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Anthony J. Mohr agreed with the firm - and with the courts of other states which have addressed this issue - that the materials were not protected from disclosure and must be produced. In particular, Judge Mohr rejected defendant's contention that the materials were protected as "work product." He also found that requiring defendant to turn over the materials would serve the important goals of fairness and avoiding undue surprise at trial. On March 16, 2011, the California Court of Appeal summarily denied defendant's request for appellate review of the order. For a copy of Judge Mohr's well reasoned opinion, click here. The case is now in mediation.