The estate of Lisa McPherson, by and through the personal
representative, Dell Liebreich (the estate), petitions this court for a writ of certiorari to
quash a discovery order that grants a request by the respondent, the Church of
Scientology Flag Service Organization, Inc. (the church), for production of documents.
We grant the writ and quash the discovery order.
The estate filed a wrongful death action against the church for the death
of Lisa McPherson. McPherson died while in the care of church staff members. The
parties' medical experts disagree on the cause of McPherson's death. At issue here is
a discovery order the trial court entered pursuant to the church's forty-first request for
production. The challenged order requires the estate to produce the following:
Plaintiff's counsel is to provide, within 20 days, all
documents in his possession, custody or control concerning
the payment by Robert Minton or any other entity associated
with Robert Minton, directly or indirectly, during the period of
January 1, 2000 to the present, of any sum of money
exceeding $500 to the plaintiff or her attorney or any
representative or agent of plaintiff, intended for any cost,
expense, or fee associated with this litigation, including,
without limitation, any deposit slips, bank statements,
checks, wire transfer records and bank drafts.
In previous discovery, Minton admitted that he had provided one million
dollars to the estate's attorney to aid in the funding of this wrongful death action. In a
later deposition, Minton asserted his Fifth Amendment rights and refused to provide any
testimony concerning any additional money he has provided to fund the estate's