Order on Scope of Discovery
November 30th, 2020
Judge Watters concludes that further discovery into the relationship between Watch Tower Pennsylvania and Watchtower New York is warranted, based upon evidence provided by the Plaintiff.
“Before the Court is Defendant Watchtower Bible and Tract Society of Pennsylvania, Inc.’s (“WTPA”) argument, presented in the party’s preliminary pretrial statement, that this Court should restrict the scope of Plaintiffs’ jurisdictional discovery. (Doc. 38 at 9). WTPA asserts that Plaintiffs should be prevented from conducting a “fishing expedition” by seeking discovery related to the parent-subsidiary relationship between WTPA and Defendant Watchtower Bible and Tract Society of New York, Inc. (“WTNY”) when WTPA has already presented evidence allegedly demonstrating that WTNY is not the alter ego of WTPA. For the following reasons, the Court finds WTP A’s argument unpersuasive and shall allow Plaintiffs to seek discovery related to the corporate relationship between WTP A and WTNY.”
from the years 1973 to 1992.
“The Court is persuaded that Plaintiffs have presented sufficient evidence demonstrating WTP A may have played a more significant role in directing the administrative work of WTNY and Jehovah’s Witnesses generally in the 1970s through the 1990s. The Jehovah’s Witnesses’ Branch Organization manual, published by WTPA in 1977, goes so far as to state: “The Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society of Pennsylvania is the parent corporate agency of Jehovah’s Witnesses. It works with subsidiary legal agencies such as the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society of New York …. ” (Doc. 44-1 at 1-4). Mr. Brumley’s affidavit does nothing to contradict these documents. Instead. Mr. Brumley’s affidavit describes the corporate structure of WTP A in almost exclusively present tense terms. ( e.g. “WTP A is not the direct or indirect parent or subsidiary of any other corporation involved in this action … WTPA has its own assets, liabilities, offices, board of directors, and officers, separate from every other entity used by Jehovah’s Witnesses.” (Doc.14-1 at 2)). The affidavit says nothing of WTPA’s past corporate structure or relationship with other subsidiaries such as WTNY. The Court finds that questions remain regarding this past corporate relationship which require a more satisfactory factual showing to resolve. Discovery regarding WTPA’s corporate relationship with WTNY from 1973 to 1992 is therefore appropriate.”