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Espana v. American Bureau of Shipping

UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT SOUTHERN DISTRICT OF NEW YORK


June 7, 2006

REINO DE ESPANA, PLAINTIFF,
v.
AMERICAN BUREAU OF SHIPPING, ET AL., DEFENDANTS.

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Ronald L. Ellis, Magistrate Judge

OPINION AND ORDER

I. INTRODUCTION

Plaintiff Reino de España ("Spain") brings this case -- arising from the casualty and sinking of the Prestige off the coast of Spain in 2002 -- against American Bureau of Shipping ("ABS"), and other defendants. By letter dated June 7, 2006, Spain asks the Court to order the production of financial records from ABS. For the reasons which follow, Spain's request is DENIED.

II. DISCUSSION

The scope of discovery is generally limited to any matter, not privileged, which is relevant to the subject matter involved in the pending action or appears reasonably calculated to lead to the discovery of admissible evidence. Rule 26(b), Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. "Relevancy is broadly construed to encompass any matter that bears on, or that reasonably could lead to other matter that could bear on, any issue that is or may be in the case." Crey v. Berisford Metals Corp., 1991 WL 44843, at *7 (S.D.N.Y. 1991) (citation omitted)..

Spain maintains that the contested financial records are relevant to its claim that ABS diverted revenue and resources, thus failing to adequately address surveyor training and staffing deficiency concerns. ABS argues that the contested records are simply not relevant and unnecessary at the liability stage of the lititation. Whether ABS's alleged training and staffing deficiencies are the result of revenue being diverted to executive compensation, retirement plans, or any other area for that matter, is not relevant to this case. This litigation concerns the design, construction, operation, maintenance, and inspection of the Prestige.

Discovery in this case should be limited to records containing information relating to the allegations in the complaint and the circumstances surrounding the Prestige casualty, and should not include unrelated records, or detailed financial information from ABS, especially at the liability stage of the litigation. Spain's request for an order directing ABS to produce the contested records is, therefore, DENIED.

IV. CONCLUSION

For the foregoing reasons, Spain's request for disclosure of the contested records is hereby DENIED.

SO ORDERED.

The Honorable Ronald L. Ellis United States Magistrate Judge

20060607

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