In today's Daily Journal, reporter Itir Yakar reports that "Ruling Benefits Discovery in Class Actions" (subscription). And at the blog Wage Law, Michael Walsh heralds "A Resounding Victory For Plaintiffs in Pioneer Electronics."
UPDATE: In this morning's San Francisco Chronicle, Bob Egelko reports that "Class-action suits get access to files." And the blog Cal Biz Lit reports that "California Supreme Court Rules on Fishing for Plaintiffs in Class Actions."
I wouldn't call it "fishing." Remember, in Pioneer, an injured class representative had already filed suit. The purpose of the discovery requests was to gain information about potential witnesses who had also experienced problems with the allegedly defective product and to gather evidence to support class certification. A secondary purpose would be to identify possible substitute class representatives in case the original one became disqualified for any reason. Class counsel owe a fiduciary duty to the class as a whole, and one way to fulfill that duty is to ensure that if the original class representative can no longer proceed, others are waiting in the wings so that the action as a whole is not scuttled. Cf. Shapell Industries, Inc. v. Superior Court, 132 Cal.App.4th 1101 (2005) (discussed here).