Martinez-Fernandez v. Feliciano
A plaintiff who allegedly observes the defendant talking on a cell at the time of an accident may be able to obtain court permission to request nonstandard production of the defendant's cell records, restricted to the date and time of the subject accident. The plaintiff, Cristobal Martinez-Fernandez, claimed that the defendant driver, Renee Feliciano, allegedly was talking on a cell when the defendant collided with the plaintiff's motor vehicle. The plaintiff requested court permission to obtain the cell records of the defendant driver, and the defendant objected. The defendant argued that in 2011 Judge Trial Referee A. William Mottolese denied a similar request for cell records in Calderon v. Harrick. A plaintiff possesses the burden to prove that standard interrogatories and requests for production are not adequate. The court distinguished the decision in Calderon, because here the plaintiff established a facial showing that the defendant used her cell at the time of the motor-vehicle collision. The plaintiff met the burden of proof for the purposes of his request for nonstandard interrogatories and production, because the plaintiff filed an affidavit, claiming that he personally observed the defendant driver and that she allegedly was talking on her cell as she collided with the plaintiff. "[T]he plaintiff's request for permission to submit nonstandard interrogatories and production is Granted," wrote the court, "limited to the cell . . . records for the date of the accident and one hour period during which the accident" took place.