The following is a guest personal injury law blog post regarding a recent Connecticut Superior Court case concerning cell phone records and car accident cases. Further personal injury guest blogging welcome via the blue button.
In a recent Connecticut Superior Court case, a plaintiff requested permission to seek the defendant’s cell phone records for the hour leading up to a rear end collision. Connecticut rules of practice allow for a standard set of discovery, which does not include cell phone records.
The party seeking the discovery has the burden of proving that the standard forms are inappropriate or inadequate. By law, “Unless such inappropriateness or inadequacy is duly established, the Court lacks the power to approve additional requests for production, even if such requests are properly limited to relevant, non-privileged material.”
The judge denied the request, insisting that the plaintiff failed to prove there was sufficient grounds to support the request for the cell phone records. There was no evidence to support the idea that the defendant was using her cell phone at the time of the collision. She even testified at her deposition that she did not use her cell phone at all on the particular drive that ended in the rear end collision.
The court did not say it would be impossible to obtain cell phone records in any automobile crash case, and left open the possibility that plaintiffs in other cases could obtain the records if they could provide an adequate reason for their production.
If the Super Court judges thought that cell phone records were appropriate disclosures in every case, they would have been included on the standard requests for production, as they do for blood alcohol test results and surveillance recordings.
With the increased use of texting, emailing, and interacting on social media through cell phones, it is likely that cell phone records will provide relevant information in auto accident crash cases.