OPINION AND ORDER: AS TO THE DISCOVERY DISPUTE
DANIEL R. DOMINGUEZ, District Judge.
Pending before the Court is a discovery dispute squabble that occurred during the taking of the deposition of former Secretary of Agriculture, Hon. Myrna Comas Pagan, signer of the Settlement Agreement ("Settlement") that ended the case of Vaqueria Tres Monjitas, Inc.; Suiza Dairy, Inc. v. Myrna Comas Pagan, et als., Civil No. 04-1840 (DRD), Docket entry No. 2322. The issue is whether or not the Secretary may be deposed as to the statements made at the negotiations of the Settlement and/or the validity or credibility of the Secretary's opinion as to said Settlement,
The Court is
There is no doubt that statements made during and leading to a Settlement are protected under Rule 408 of Evidence. The protection covers statements and documents leading or related to the Settlement. Ramada Development Company v. Martin W. Rauch, et als., 644 F.2d 1097 (1st Cir.1980). See also Ronda-Perez v. Banco Bilbao Vizcaya Argentaria — Puerto Rico, 404 F.3d 42, 47 (1st Cir.2005) (offer to settle conditioned a specific payment of an age discrimination case).
The law is clear as to the purpose of the Rule 408, however, there is a considerable exception as to whether the documents tendered at trial and relating to a settlement negotiation, should be used for "another purpose." Rodriguez-Garcia v. Municipio de Caguas, 495 F.3d 1, 11-12 (1st Cir.2008). See Rule 408 (a)(1) and (2)(b). Further, there are a series of exceptions clearly noted at Rule 408(b).
It is clear that the documents and statements used during and in the process of negotiations are barred under Rule 408(a), specially as to the "validity," "invalidity" or the "consideration" of the settlement. However, the use of documents and statements for "another purpose" constitutes a broad field. In Basha v. Mitsubishi Motor Credit America Insurance, Inc., 336 F.3d 451, 454 (5th Cir.2003) (the Court accepted in evidence a document of settlement by counsel "interpreting the settlement" and not for liability purposes). Further, courts have interpreted the exception "involving a third party," In Re MSTG, Inc., 675 F.3d 1337, 1343-1344 (Fed.Cir.2012)(rehearing en banc denied 2012). Therefore, it is pellucid that the use of documents and statements during and in the process of negotiations as to settlements are barred under Rule 408(a). However, the use of "another purpose" constitutes a broad field under Rule 408(b).
At the Telephone Conference, the farmers, PRDFA, expressed at one point of the telephone conference that the question addressed to the Secretary of Agriculture were geared to her knowledge as to the potential "repercussions" of the settlement to a third party, in this case the PRDFA, who was not a signatory of the Settlement. (See the signatories of the Settlement Agreement, at Docket No. 2322 of Civil No. 04-1840 (DRD), the case of the milk processors seeking constitutional redress). Further, the Court is cognizant that under Rule 408 there is a general policy of "otherwise discoverable evidence" . . . "not intended to conflict with the . . .," . . . "liberal rules of discovery embodied in the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure." Federal Courtroom Evidence," Fifth Edition, Cotchet and Poehner, Lexis Nexis, May 2016, § 408.5, pages 10-23.
Considering the above judicial scenario, the Court allows the testimony of the former Secretary of Agriculture solely as to the "repercussions" under the Settlement Agreement stated herein, as to the farmers, the PRDFA,
IT IS SO ORDERED.