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Hall v. Safeco Insurance Co. of Illinois

United States District Court, S.D. Mississippi, Northern Division

December 6, 2019

DEREK L. HALL and JENNIFER HALL PLAINTIFFS
v.
SAFECO INSURANCE COMPANY OF ILLINOIS, ET AL. DEFENDANTS

          ORDER

          F. Keith Ball United States Magistrate Judge

         This case is before the Court on the following discovery-related motions: (1) Plaintiffs' Motion to Compel Disclosures and for Attorney Fees and Costs [65]; (2) Plaintiffs' Motion to Determine the Sufficiency of Defendant's Privilege Log and to Compel Requests for Production of Documents and for Attorney Fees and Costs [67]; (3) Plaintiffs' Motion to Compel Interrogatories and for Attorney Fees and Costs [69]; and (4) Defendant's Motion to Compel Medical Authorizations from Plaintiffs [83]. Having considered the relevant filings on each of these motions, the Court orders as set forth below.

         Introduction

         This case arises from an August 24, 2017, automobile accident, involving Derek Hall and Zhen P. Chen, an underinsured driver. In this lawsuit, Plaintiff Derek Hall and his wife, Plaintiff Jennifer Hall, seek recovery of underinsured motorist (UIM) insurance coverage benefits from Defendant Safeco Insurance Company of Illinois (Safeco). Plaintiffs also assert bad faith claims in relation to Safeco's investigation and handling of their UIM claims.

         (1) Plaintiffs' Motion to Compel Disclosures and for Attorney Fees and Costs [65]

         Plaintiffs contend that Safeco's initial disclosures required by Fed.R.Civ.P. 26(a)(1)(A)(i) and (ii) are insufficient. Safeco disagrees.

         (a) Safeco's disclosures under Fed.R.Civ.P. 26(a)(1)(A)(i)

         Fed. R. Civ. P. 26(a)(1)(A)(i) requires a party to provide:

(i) the name and, if known, the address and telephone number of each individual likely to have discoverable information - along with the subjects of that information - that the disclosing party may use to support its claims or defenses, unless the use would be solely for impeachment[.]

Fed.R.Civ.P. 26(a)(1)(A)(i).

         In paragraphs 7, 9, 10, 14, 15, 16, 17, and 19 of Defendant's First Supplemental Pre-Discovery Disclosures of Core Information, Safeco provides merely descriptions of categories of individuals. And in paragraph 13, Safeco provides essentially just names of individuals.[1] Safeco's disclosures in these paragraphs fail to comply with Fed.R.Civ.P. 26(a)(1)(A)(i). The Court orders Safeco to supplement its disclosures in each of these paragraphs to provide the name and, if known, the address and telephone number of each individual, who Safeco may use to support its defenses in this case, as well as the subject(s) of each named individual's discoverable information. Safeco is not required to provide this information for individuals that Safeco would use solely for impeachment.

         (b) Safeco's disclosures under Fed.R.Civ.P. 26(a)(1)(A)(ii)

         Fed. R. Civ. P. 26(a)(1)(A)(i) requires a party to provide:

(ii) a copy - or a description by category and location - of all documents, electronically stored information, and tangible things that the disclosing party has in its possession, custody, or control and may use to support its claims or defenses, unless the use would be solely for impeachment.

Fed.R.Civ.P. 26(a)(1)(A)(ii).

         Plaintiffs acknowledge that Safeco produced 2, 371 pages from the claims and underwriting files, which are comprised of 2, 631 total pages. But Plaintiffs contend that Safeco must produce the entire claims file in its disclosures. Fed.R.Civ.P. 26(a)(1)(A)(ii) does not, however, require Safeco to produce its entire claim file; it only requires Safeco to produce "all documents . . . that [Safeco] . . . may use to support its claims or defenses." By withholding certain documents from the claims file, Safeco represents that it will not be using those documents in this case, and Safeco will be prohibited from using, at trial or otherwise, any documents withheld from production. But Plaintiffs have failed to show that Safeco has failed to comply with Fed.R.Civ.P. 26(a)(1)(A)(ii). Accordingly, the motion is denied as to Safeco's Rule 26(a)(1)(A)(ii) disclosures.

         Plaintiffs' request for attorney's fees and costs is denied.

(2) Plaintiffs' Motion to Determine the Sufficiency of Defendant's Privilege Log and to Compel Requests for Production of Documents and for Attorney Fees and Costs [67]
(a) Defendant's Privilege Log

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