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Parkinson v. Diamond Chemical Co., Inc.

New Jersey Appellate Division

October 27, 2021

The New Jersey Appellate Division issued a critical decision regarding discovery and parties’ tax returns. Under the Court’s ruling in Ullmann v. Hartford Fire Ins. Co., a party seeking tax returns in discovery must meet a heightened standard outlined in a three-part test. Here, in a wrongful discharge action, the plaintiff sought the tax returns of both an individual and company. The plaintiff argued successfully to the trial court that the individual tax returns were discoverable under the Ullmann test, and that the corporate tax returns deserved no special treatment. They should be discoverable in the usual course of events. The trial court found that the plaintiff satisfied the Ullmann test for both the individual and corporate taxes. The Appellate Division reversed and remanded for a more robust analysis of the Ullmann test. The Court held that individual and corporate taxes are subject to the Ullmann test.

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