I’m also a U.S.-based attorney, and agree with your post and analysis regarding the discovery requests, but wanted to add a few things. Since Sam’s case is filed in federal court, the scope of discovery is narrower than it would be if the case were in Florida state court. In addition to showing that the challenged requests are relevant to the issues in the lawsuit, Sam will also have to show that the requests are “proportional to the needs of the case, considering the importance of the issues at stake in the action, the amount in controversy, the parties’ relative access to relevant information, the parties’ resources, the importance of the discovery in resolving the issues, and whether the burden or expense of the proposed discovery outweighs its likely benefit.” That standard is going to make it even more difficult for Sam to overcome a challenge to many of her discovery requests.
BIB re: whether the case will settle:
I just wanted to add (for those who may not know) that either side can initiate negotiations. So, Sam can make a settlement demand, putting the ball in Meghan’s court to accept or reject the offer. I am curious as to whether Sam made any sort of settlement demand before she filed suit.
Re: the amount Sam is suing Smeg for:
I’ve posted here multiple times about how Sam’s suit is not limited to $75k. Unfortunately, the newspapers (I’m looking at you, Daily Mail) keep erroneously saying “Sam is suing Meghan for $75k.” I certainly don’t expect every journalist to know all U.S. laws, but I do expect all journalists—irrespective of where they’re located—to do their homework. They don’t even have to research the law on this particular issue - all they need to do is read Sam’s complaint, which explicitly says she’s seeking “in excess
of $75,000”, per the jurisdictional requirement. I think many journalists are just lazy these days and just want to get a story up on the Internet as quickly as possible without doing adequate fact checking.
Finally, for any lovely Tattlers who have read this far without falling asleep, I think it’s worth noting that federal judges are appointed (lifetime appointments) by the President. I don’t know much about the judge in Sam’s case (Judge Honeywell), but I see that she was appointed by Obama, so I assume she’s a fairly liberal judge. Speaking in very broad, generalized terms, liberal judges are typically considered “better” than conservative judges for plaintiffs and tend to allow cases to go to trial rather than dismiss them (again, this is a very generalized statement). That said, Sam’s attorney apparently was concerned that the Obama “connection” could pose a problem for Sam’s case. She filed a motion to disqualify Judge Honeywell last summer, arguing that there is a reasonable basis to question the judge’s impartiality given that she’s an Obama appointee and given that the Harkles and Obamas are allies and strong supporters of each other. Judge Honeywell denied the motion and stated in her order that she has never had any relationship with the Obamas. For what it’s worth, I usually discourage filing motions to disqualify unless there’s a really strong basis for it. There’s a good chance the motion will be denied, and then you end up in the awkward position of having to litigate the case in front of the very judge that you said could not be impartial.