A neighbor was doing some work near the border between two properties so a security camera was put up to monitor for any trespass or damage which had been a problem in the past with this person. Because the lots are small and close other parts of nearby houses and backyards can be seen.

The footage was used as evidence in a lawsuit. The person who put up the camera was not a party to this lawsuit but is now being sued for invasion of privacy.

A discovery request was made for all available footage from this camera. Does this need to be provided?

Would the defendant's attorney need to review the footage before objecting to the discovery request?

Even if you believe that there is nothing incriminating on the footage it seems like a bad idea to just have something over that could be used against you. Isn't the burden of proof up to the plaintiff?

1 Answer 1


You can’t tamper with evidence

People have this strange idea that court cases proceed on the basis of “gotchas” and “ah-ha” moments - it doesn’t work that way. Everyone gets to see everything well before the case goes to trial - that’s the purpose of discovery. You can ask for (and get) anything that seems that it could reasonably lead to admissible (that is, relevant, among other things) evidence.

If a party thinks another party is overreaching they can object and ask the judge to rule on it. Sometimes the judge might even agree but probably not - judges don’t like surprises.

The reason for this is simple - if everyone knows everything then it’s more likely the likely loser will realize they are likely to lose. Then they might settle and avoid the cost of a trial.


Give them the footage and deal with what is shows in your case.

  • Why give it if the judge did not order to? The party alleging invasion of privacy has to have a case in the first place — as opposed to requesting footage to see if they actually do.
    – Greendrake
    Oct 29, 2020 at 10:50
  • @Greendrake the discovery process allows you to ask for (and get) evidence you think the other side has. It’s eminently reasonable to assume the owner of the camera has the footage it took and that that footage might be relevant.
    – Dale M
    Oct 29, 2020 at 10:57
  • I didn't mean tamper with evidence. I meant what @Greendrake was getting at. Isn't it up to the plaintiff to provide evidence of what they are accusing you of and not asking you to v provide it for them?
    – user35113
    Oct 30, 2020 at 1:07
  • @user35113 no, it isn’t. And withholding evidence is tampering with it.
    – Dale M
    Oct 30, 2020 at 2:15

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