Missouri - Surveillance Video is Discoverable in MO Workers’ Compensation Courts without showing of undue hardship by claimant.


In the recent Missouri Court of Appeals for the Western District case of State ex. rel. Feltz v. Bob Sight Ford, Inc.,the Court held that surveillance videotapes are discoverable to a workers’ compensation claimant without a showing of undue hardship under Rule 56.01(b)(3).

Injured worker Feltz filed a workers’ compensation claim against his employer, Bob Sight Ford (hereinafter “Ford”) after tripping on a stairwell carpet.  During the course of litigation, Feltz notified Ford that he intended to take the deposition of Ford’s insurance adjuster.  Further, Feltz issued a subpoena duces tecum ordering the insurance adjuster to produce any and all video surveillance held by Ford under Missouri Revised Statute §287.560.  Ford, in turn, moved to quash the deposition and subpoena duces tecum arguing that surveillance video is not considered a “statement” requiring production under RSMo. §287.215.    The Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) sustained Ford’s motion. 

Feltz appealed to the Circuit Court which held that surveillance videotapes  are not discoverable by an employee under RSMo. §287.215, as such statute is effectively a statutory work product exception.  However, the subpoena at issue was not brought pursuant to RSMo. §287.215, but under RSMo. §287.560 which authorizes workers’ compensation proceedings to be conducted in the same manner as civil matters in circuit court.  Accordingly, Rule 56.01 governs general discovery in civil matters and allows a party to obtain without the required showing [of undue hardship] a prior statement made by that party also defined as a[n] audio, video, motion picture or other recording.

Interestingly, Rule 56.01 only applied in this particular case because Claimant requested the surveillance videotapes through a subpoena duces tecum pursuant to §287.560.  Had Claimant made his request pursuant to RSMo. §287.215, the result would differ as §287.215 specifically excludes videotapes from its definition of “statement” and also clearly indicates the definition provided “applies to the term ’statement’ as used in RSMo. §287.215 and does not apply to other statues, like RSMo. §287.560.

In sum, if a Claimant wants to compel discovery of the employer/adjuster’s surveillance video, they need only issue a subpoena duces tecum under RSMo. §287.560.

Rubina S. Khaleel
Managing Partner
Adelson, Testan, Brundo, Novell & Jimenez
14301 FNB Parkway, Suite 304
Omaha, NE 68154

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