Say that a plaintiff alleges that defendants X and Y have engaged in a civil conspiracy, and wants to subpoena communications between X and Y regarding the plaintiff. If the plaintiff is already suing X for the tort underlying the alleged conspiracy, is that enough for the plaintiff to subpoena from X communications with Y about the plaintiff, or is more than merely that needed?

Alternatively, if the plaintiff is suing neither X nor Y for the tort underlying the alleged conspiracy, is there any evidence that the plaintiff can offer in order to justify such a subpoena?


The answer will depend to some extent on whether you're in federal or state court, and if you're in state court, which state you're in.

Generally speaking, though, bringing a lawsuit alleging that the defendants have engaged in a civil conspiracy against you -- or merely that they have committed the underlying tort -- will be sufficient to permit discovery. It will vary from one judge to the next, but the only other prerequisite I would expect in normal circumstances would be surviving a Rule 12 motion to dismiss.

Because you are seeking records from parties to the case, you would not use a subpoena, but rather Rule 26 discovery, through which you could seek access to communications between the parties. Rule 26 discovery is typically very broad, so you would likely be able to obtain nearly any communications among defendants and about you.

The alternative hypothetical is not quite clear. If you were not suing either defendant for the underlying tort, it's not clear to whom you'd be offering evidence to justify a subpoena.

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