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Francesca Sabbatino Obtains Reversal from Second Department: Court Rules Plaintiff Must Disclose Participation in Witness Protection Program
On February 13, 2013 the New York Supreme Court Appellate Division, Second Department unanimously reversed a Trial Court Order denying defendant property owner's request for information maintained by the Witness Security Program in which plaintiff claimed she participated. Rush & Sabbatino partner Francesca Sabbatino worked closely with the defendant insurer's SIU unit to uncover the use of multiple social security numbers by plaintiff. When Ms. Sabbatino confronted the plaintiff at her deposition with these facts plaintiff claimed she was issued multiple social security numbers as a result of participation in the "Witness Protection Program." Plaintiff's counsel refused to permit further inquiry on the issue and declined to respond to a post deposition discovery request seeking information maintained by The Department of Justice. An appeal followed in which Ms. Sabbatino successfully argued, in what appears to be a case of first impression in New York, that plaintiff is not permitted to use her participation in the Witness Security Program to "shield her from the adverse effects of the litigation she initiated." Hoffman v. Connecticut Natl. Bank, 120 FRD 15 (D. Conn).

The Court went on to hold that the Trial Court abused its discretion in denying the discovery request seeking information both material and relevant to plaintiff's allegations of physical injury and loss of enjoyment of life.

See: New York Law Journal: February 19, 2013:
http://www.newyorklawjournal.com/PubArticleNY.jsp?id=1202588471921&slreturn=20130212111233