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Davis v. Ross

United States District Court for the Southern District of New York
107 F.R.D. 326 (S.D.N.Y. 1985)


Gail Davis (plaintiff) was employed by Diana Ross (defendant) and Davis claimed that she voluntarily resigned. However, Ross disseminated a letter insinuating that Davis was fired because her work and/or personal habits were not acceptable to Ross and stating that Ross would not recommend Davis for other work. Davis brought suit for defamation, seeking to recover for “great mental pain and anguish” among other things. The district court granted Ross’s motion to dismiss, but the court of appeals reversed and remanded. On remand, Davis filed a motion to discover (1) information about Ross’s net worth for purposes of punitive damages, (2) the amount of fees paid to Ross’s lawyer for purposes of establishing bias, as the lawyer was to be a witness for Ross, and (3) the names of other Ross employees who had complained about her. Ross filed a motion to discover evidence of Davis’s treatment by a psychiatrist while Davis worked for Ross, arguing that Davis put her mental condition at issue when she asked to recover for mental pain and anguish.

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