Thank you for sharing!

Your article was successfully shared with the contacts you provided.
Philadelphia-Quashing a criminal defendant’s subpoena, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court has ruled that documents detailing the state Department of Transportation’s internal accident investigations and studies are shielded from discovery and use in court. In Commonwealth v. Taylor, a 4-2 majority of the court concluded that the state Legislature had created a “narrow but absolute privilege” for the department in this area and that the relevant language in the Motor Vehicle Code was explicit and unambiguous on the point. The department had argued that disclosing the records would have a chilling effect on its ability to gather accurate and honest information about accidents without fear of liability. Justice Ronald D. Castille wrote the majority opinion. “To allow discovery of these accident reports and studies in collateral matters would directly counter the statutory mandate of promoting a safe and efficient highway system by involving PennDOT employees and consultants in collateral legal actions or other proceedings of any type,” Castille wrote. The court also rejected the criminal defendant’s argument that a privilege shielding the records would violate his due process rights under the state and federal constitutions. The defendant, Gerald S. Taylor, who was preparing to defend vehicular homicide and driving under the influence charges, said he had a due process right to information that could provide exculpatory evidence that would lessen his culpability, according to the opinion.

This content has been archived. It is available through our partners, LexisNexis® and Bloomberg Law.

To view this content, please continue to their sites.

Not a Lexis Advance® Subscriber?
Subscribe Now

Not a Bloomberg Law Subscriber?
Subscribe Now

Why am I seeing this?

LexisNexis® and Bloomberg Law are third party online distributors of the broad collection of current and archived versions of ALM's legal news publications. LexisNexis® and Bloomberg Law customers are able to access and use ALM's content, including content from the National Law Journal, The American Lawyer, Legaltech News, The New York Law Journal, and Corporate Counsel, as well as other sources of legal information.

For questions call 1-877-256-2472 or contact us at [email protected]

Reprints & Licensing
Mentioned in a Law.com story?

License our industry-leading legal content to extend your thought leadership and build your brand.


ALM Legal Publication Newsletters

Sign Up Today and Never Miss Another Story.

As part of your digital membership, you can sign up for an unlimited number of a wide range of complimentary newsletters. Visit your My Account page to make your selections. Get the timely legal news and critical analysis you cannot afford to miss. Tailored just for you. In your inbox. Every day.

Copyright © 2021 ALM Media Properties, LLC. All Rights Reserved.