If I am involved in a civil case and I am served with a discovery motion to provide certain information, but this information is publicly available (such as employment history, residential address, etc), am I obligated to provide this information to the other party?

My thinking here is that there's nothing preventing you from accessing this information other than you spending some effort on getting it - so why should I be compelled to make your job easier for you?
It's also possible that I might inadvertently provide some information which is not really public and in doing so might hurt my case somehow.

On the other hand, not providing this information might be seen as simply being obstructive and using delaying tactics when presumably the end result would be the same (assuming that the information I provide matches that which is publicly available).

  • Why do you think you are allowed to withhold things that “hurt your case”?
    – Dale M
    Commented Oct 16, 2019 at 19:35

1 Answer 1


Generally, discovery is for things which are not publicly available. Also, discovery requests must be specific, and specify exactly which documents are requested and in what format.

If you were asked for publicly available information, you could ask the judge to quash the request arguing that 1) if it's available, then can get it themselves, or 2) if they want something not publicly available, then they ought to submit a request for that.

Alternatively, if the request leaves open this possibility, you could just turn over the information from the place where the public can access it. This way you comply, and you won't turn over any other materials accidentally.

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