Sawyer v. Boufford, No. 6561

CourtSupreme Court of New Hampshire
Writing for the CourtLAMPRON
Citation312 A.2d 693,113 N.H. 627
PartiesMarie E. SAWYER, Executrix of the Estate of Carl R. Sawyer v. Francis L. BOUFFORD. Marie E. SAWYER v. Francis L. BOUFFORD.
Decision Date30 November 1973
Docket NumberNo. 6561

Page 693

312 A.2d 693
113 N.H. 627
Marie E. SAWYER, Executrix of the Estate of Carl R. Sawyer
v.
Francis L. BOUFFORD.
Marie E. SAWYER
v.
Francis L. BOUFFORD.
No. 6561.
Supreme Court of New Hampshire.
Nov. 30, 1973.

Page 694

[113 N.H. 628] Goodnow, Arwe & Ayer, Keene and McLane, Carleton, Graf, Greene & Brown, Manchester, for plaintiff.

Bell & Kennedy, Keene, for defendant.

LAMPRON, Justice.

Motion for discovery by deposition of the defendant in actions for personal injuries and the subsequent death of Carl R. Sawyer and for loss of consortium arising out of an automobile-pedestrian accident in Keene on January 20, 1969. Plaintiff moved that the defendant be ordered to produce at deposition documents relative to his net worth and to answer questions as to the extent to which he might have assets to reach in addition to his liability insurance policy which has been disclosed to have a limit of $25,000.00. Defendant's exception to the granting of the motion was reserved and transferred by Grant, J.

The issue, which is of first impression in this jurisdiction, is whether a defendant in a personal injury and wrongful death action must disclose his financial situation on deposition prior to trial in order to apprise the plaintiff of his ability to respond to a verdict in excess of his insurance coverage.

The underlying purpose of discovery, whether by means of depositions, interrogatories or pretrial hearings is to reach the truth and to reach it as early in the process as possible by narrowing the issues pertaining to the controversy between the parties. Hartford Accident, ect., Co. v. Cutter, 108 N.H. 112, 113, 229 A.2d 173, 175 (1967). Another important object of such procedures, especially in these days of crowded dockets, is to enhance the chances for a fair and amicable settlement. Id. Recent decisions of this court have stressed the importance of broad pretrial discovery. Willett v. General Elec. Co., 113 N.H. --, --, 306 A.2d 789, 790 (1973); Workman v. Public Serv. Co. of N.H., 113 N.H. --, --, 308 A.2d 540 (1973). However, there are competing policies which require imposing some limitations on discovery. Willett v. General Elec. Co., supra; McDuffey v. Boston & Maine R.R., 102 N.H. 179, 181, 152 A.2d 606, 608 (1959); M. Green, Basic Civil Procedure 124 (1972).

We have held in the domain of financial disclosures that [113 N.H. 629] federal income tax returns are not privileged as a matter of law when they are material to the claims...

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17 practice notes
  • State v. Valenzuela, No. 86-073
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of New Hampshire
    • December 31, 1987
    ...any doubt upon the vitality of prior cases recognizing civil rights of action for violations of privacy interests. See Sawyer v. Boufford, 113 N.H. 627, 630, 312 A.2d 693, 695 (1973); Hamberger v. Eastman, 106 N.H. 107, 206 A.2d 239 On the Katz analysis, protection against unreasonable sear......
  • State v. Sands, No. 80-047
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of New Hampshire
    • August 29, 1983
    ...The defendants also argue that they were entitled to read to the jury an excerpt from this court's decision in Sawyer v. Boufford, 113 N.H. 627, 629-30, 312 A.2d 693, 694-95 (1973), which stated that a defendant has a right, under some circumstances, not to disclose financial information in......
  • State v. Ballou, s. 83-227
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of New Hampshire
    • July 31, 1984
    ...a new Page 262 duty, or attaches a new disability in respect to transactions ... already past ....' " State v. Vashaw, supra at 637, 312 A.2d at 693 (quoting Pepin v. Beaulieu, 102 N.H. 84, 89, 151 A.2d 230, 235 (1959) (quoting Woart v. Winnick, 3 N.H. 473, 479 In our most recent criminal c......
  • Calderwood v. Calderwood, No. 6251
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of New Hampshire
    • October 31, 1974
    ...his obligation may then be determined solely with reference to what justice requires that Dorothy should receive. See Sawyer v. Boufford, 113 N.H. 627, 312 A.2d 693 (1973); Farnum v. Bristol-Myers Co., 107 N.H. 165, 167, 219 A.2d 277, 279 (1966); Hardware Mutual Cas. Co. v. Hopkins, 105 N.H......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
17 cases
  • State v. Ballou, s. 83-227
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of New Hampshire
    • July 31, 1984
    ...a new Page 262 duty, or attaches a new disability in respect to transactions ... already past ....' " State v. Vashaw, supra at 637, 312 A.2d at 693 (quoting Pepin v. Beaulieu, 102 N.H. 84, 89, 151 A.2d 230, 235 (1959) (quoting Woart v. Winnick, 3 N.H. 473, 479 In our most recent criminal c......
  • State v. Valenzuela, 86-073
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of New Hampshire
    • December 31, 1987
    ...any doubt upon the vitality of prior cases recognizing civil rights of action for violations of privacy interests. See Sawyer v. Boufford, 113 N.H. 627, 630, 312 A.2d 693, 695 (1973); Hamberger v. Eastman, 106 N.H. 107, 206 A.2d 239 On the Katz analysis, protection against unreasonable sear......
  • State v. Sands, 80-047
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of New Hampshire
    • August 29, 1983
    ...The defendants also argue that they were entitled to read to the jury an excerpt from this court's decision in Sawyer v. Boufford, 113 N.H. 627, 629-30, 312 A.2d 693, 694-95 (1973), which stated that a defendant has a right, under some circumstances, not to disclose financial information in......
  • Calderwood v. Calderwood, 6251
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of New Hampshire
    • October 31, 1974
    ...his obligation may then be determined solely with reference to what justice requires that Dorothy should receive. See Sawyer v. Boufford, 113 N.H. 627, 312 A.2d 693 (1973); Farnum v. Bristol-Myers Co., 107 N.H. 165, 167, 219 A.2d 277, 279 (1966); Hardware Mutual Cas. Co. v. Hopkins, 105 N.H......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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