fishing expedition

fishing expedition2016-12-27T09:31:13+00:00

fishing expedition 

fishing expedition image from New Medical Terms

fishing expedition


A popular term for an unplanned analysis of a large and complex set of data, which may result in random statistical ripples or noise that can be used to support an incorrect conclusion.

Reference New Engl J Med 2003; 349:522ed


A term of art used in civil litigation for a situation in which a plaintiff seeks to discover evidence of prior, similar claims to the one being litigated, and to which a defendant would be adverse.

An often cited example of such an exercise is Loftin v. Martin 776 S.W.2d 145 (1989), in which the defence requested all notes, records, memoranda, documents and communications made to support (the plaintiff’s) allegations. The court found the request so vague, ambiguous and overbroad that it did not identify any particular class or type of documents but rather a request to peruse everything in its adversary’s files.    


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