Discoverability of Insureds' Tax Returns in Disability Actions Venued in California: A Three-Step Analysis to Compel Their Disclosure


In state court actions, and diversity actions controlled by California law, discovery into the plaintiff’s financial condition is appropriate under both Fed R Civ P 26(b)(1) and CCP § 2017.010, where the plaintiff’s claims implicate his or her financial history. See, G-K Props. v. Redevelopment Agency of San Jose, 409 F Supp 955, 956-960 (ND Cal 1976). Such claims are implicit, if not expressly plead, in actions arising from the denial of disability benefits, in which the parties dispute occupations for which the plaintiff insured is reasonably suited in light of, among other things, his or her status in life and economic strata, as well as the nature and amount of potential off-sets to the claimed insurance benefits (including wages, tips, social security benefits and worker’s compensation benefits). Thus, this article discusses the circumstances under which tax returns may be compelled under California and federal standards in such actions.

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DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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