Rule 4003.1. Scope of Discovery Generally. Opinions and Contentions.
(a) Subject to the provisions of Rules 4003.2 to 4003.5 inclusive and Rule 4011, a party may obtain discovery regarding any matter, not privileged, which is relevant to the subject matter involved in the pending action, whether it relates to the claim or defense of the party seeking discovery or to the claim or defense of any other party, including the existence, description, nature, content, custody, condition and location of any books, documents, or other tangible things and the identity and location of persons having knowledge of any discoverable matter.
(b) It is not ground for objection that the information sought will be inadmissible at the trial if the information sought appears reasonably calculated to lead to the discovery of admissible evidence.
(c) Except as otherwise provided by these rules, it is not ground for objection that the information sought involves an opinion or contention that relates to a fact or the application of law to fact.
Interrogatories that generally require the responding party to state the basis of particular claims, defenses or contentions made in pleadings or other documents should be used sparingly and, if used, should be designed to target claims, defenses or contentions that the propounding attorney reasonably suspects may be the proper subjects of early dismissal or resolution or, alternatively, to identify and to narrow the scope of claims, defenses and contentions made where the scope is unclear.
Prior Rule 4003 has been deleted. It had embodied a number of disparate subjects, including the deposition of aged, infirm and going witnesses, the deposition of witnesses more than 100 miles from the courthouse, depositions for use at a hearing on a petition, motion or rule, and notice of depositions on oral examination. These subjects have been functionally rearranged and transposed to other Rules.
Depositions of aged, going and infirm witnesses and witnesses more than 100 miles from the courthouse are now regulated by Rule 4007.2(b). The use of depositions at a hearing on petition, motion or rule is authorized by Rule 4001(c). Notice of depositions on oral examination is now regulated by Rule 4007.1.
Under the prior practice, an argument might have been made that there was no sanction available against a party who refused to appear for a deposition for use in connection with a petition, motion or rule. The amendments preclude any such argument, since there is now a unified notice system for all oral depositions for all purposes. See Rules 4001(c), 4007.1 and 4019(a)(1).
To use the place vacated by Rule 4003, new Rules 4003.1 through 4003.5 have been added. They deal with the scope of discovery. Rule 4003.1 delineates generally the scope of discovery. It is taken almost verbatim from Fed.R.Civ.P. 26(b).
Rules 4003.2 through 4003.5 deal with specific aspects of the scope of discovery, such as discovery of insurance, discovery of trial preparation material generally, discovery of statements of parties or witnesses, and discovery of facts known and opinions held by experts. They are based closely on Fed. R.Civ.P. 26(b)(2), (3) and (4). Separate comment on each new Rule follows.
Rule 4003.1 incorporates the broad Federal discovery rule and replaces former Rule 4007(a), which had provided a more limited scope of discovery. Rule 4007(a) limited discovery to any matter not privileged which is relevant to the subject matter involved in the action and will substantially aid in the preparation of the pleadings or the preparation or trial of the case. Fed. R.Civ.P. 26(b)(1), from which Rule 4003.1 is taken almost verbatim, permits discovery of all relevant matter not privileged, whether it relates to a claim or defense. It is not restricted to preparation of pleadings or the trial of the case. It is not ground for objection that the information sought will be inadmissible at the trial if the information sought appears reasonably calculated to lead to discovery of admissible evidence.
Further widening of the scope of discovery follows from the deletion of former Rules 4011(d) and 4011(f), which restricted discovery of material prepared for trial or in anticipation of litigation and discovery of expert opinions. The effect of these omissions is discussed in the comments to Rules 4003.3, 4003.4 and 4003.5.
The provisions of this Rule 4003.1 adopted November 20, 1978, effective April 16, 1979, 8 Pa.B. 3551; amended December 14, 1989, effective January 1, 1990, 20 Pa.B. 11; amended April 8, 2008, effective July 1, 2008, 38 Pa.B. 1814. Immediately preceding text appears at serial pages (209473) to (209474).
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