United States District Court, W.D. Oklahoma
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
J. Cauthron United States District Judge.
filed the present claim, asserting that Defendant acted in
bad faith in resolving an underinsured motorist
(“UIM”) claim he filed following an automobile
accident in February of 2016. At that time, Plaintiff
submitted his relevant medical records and bills to Defendant
as part of an UIM claim. According to Plaintiff, Defendant
failed to properly evaluate his claim and he was forced to
file the present action. Shortly after this lawsuit was
filed, Defendant paid the policy limits on the UIM claim,
thereby extinguishing Plaintiff's breach of contract
claim, leaving only the bad faith claim.
has filed a Motion to Compel, arguing Defendant has failed to
properly respond to certain discovery requests. Specifically,
Plaintiff complains that Defendant has not provided a
complete response to Requests for Production
(“RFPs”) Nos. 19-23, and Interrogatories 14 and
15. Plaintiff also seeks a ruling on the scope of a
Fed.R.Civ.P. 30(b)(6) notice that he served on Defendant.
Defendant has filed a separate Motion to Quash that Notice
and limit the scope of the deposition. The Court will address
Defendant's Motion within this Order.
RFPs can be grouped into two categories: 19 and 20 seek
information related to training of Defendant's employees
who handle UIM claims in Oklahoma; 21-23 seek information
related to use of the “Auto Injury Evaluation” or
the “Auto Claim File.”
Court is not persuaded by Defendant's argument that the
noted language makes the request overbroad. First,
Defendant's argument fails to meet its obligation of
demonstrating undue burden. “As the party resisting
discovery, Defendants have the burden to show facts
justifying their objection by demonstrating that the time or
expense involved in responding to requested discovery is
unduly burdensome.” Horizon Holdings, L.L.C. v.
Genmar Holdings, Inc., 209 F.R.D. 208, 213 (D. Kan.
2002) (citing Snowden v. Connaught Labs., Inc., 137
F.R.D. 325, 332 (D. Kan. 1991)). Second, as Plaintiff notes,
there are other limiting phrases in the discovery requests
that sufficiently apprise Defendant of the nature of the
materials requested by Plaintiff. Accordingly, to the extent
it has not already done so, Defendant is ordered to produce
complete responses to RFPs 19 and 20 within 10 days of the
date of this Order.
RFPs 21-23, Plaintiff argues Defendant's use of the noted
computer analysis leads to the alleged low-balling. Plaintiff
asserts that the information requested, along with the
deposition, will provide him with evidence on this element of
his case. In response, Defendant argues that Plaintiff
misunderstands the nature of the computer materials.
According to Defendant, neither of the items noted by
Plaintiff are an evaluation, program, system, or tool.
Defendant states these items are file prints rather than
forms or evaluations. Defendant notes that once the
deposition noticed by Plaintiff occurs, Plaintiff will
understand the use and purpose of the “Auto Claim
File” and the “Auto Injury Evaluation.”
According to Defendant, this understanding will render moot
Plaintiff's discovery requests on these matters.
examining the materials provided by Plaintiff as examples of
the “Auto Claim File” and the “Auto Injury
Evaluation, ” the Court agrees that they appear to
offer information relevant to Plaintiff's claims.
Accordingly, Defendant shall produce responsive documents
within 10 days of the date of this Order.
served a Rule 30(b)(6) Notice on Defendant seeking
designation of a deponent to address the “Auto Injury
Evaluation, ” the “Auto Claim File, ” and
Defendant's creation and use of those items from 2015 to
present (topics 1-4). Topic 5 sought testimony on
Defendant's financial condition. Topic 6 sought a
designee to testify as to the handling of Plaintiff's
claim as measured against Defendant's “Auto Claim
Manual” and “Our Commitment to Our
Policyholders.” Topics 7-9 sought a designee to address
training provided to persons handling UIM claims. Finally,
topic 10 sought testimony on a decision by Defendant to pay
the balance of the UIM coverage after the present action was
agrees to produce a deponent to address portions of topics 1
and 2, limited to the purpose and use of the referenced
“Auto Injury Evaluation” and “Auto Claim
File.” Plaintiff asserts this agreement is too limited,
as it is also necessary to address why the forms were created
and how they are to be implemented.
noted above in addressing the Motion to Compel on these
issues, the Court agrees that deposition testimony on the
forms is the most efficient means to understanding
Defendant's use of them. This discovery necessarily must
include the “why” and “how” for the
forms as argued by Plaintiff. Accordingly, Defendant's
Motion to Quash is denied as to topics 1 and 2.
argues Plaintiff's request as to topics 3 and 4 lacks
relevance, as the request seeks information on claims other
that Plaintiff's. According to Defendant, it evaluates
each claim on its own merits and on a highly particularized
basis. Thus, any information about other claims being entered
into the “Auto Claim File” or the “Auto
Injury Evaluation” do not bear on Plaintiff's claim
here. Additionally, Defendant argues that to the extent
Plaintiff seeks the information to support his punitive
damages claim, that use would violate the Due Process Clause.
Plaintiff argues this topic will allow it to discover
information demonstrating Defendant's pattern and
practice of using the forms.
has demonstrated that the requested information is
discoverable. Defendant's objections do not persuade the
Court otherwise. Accordingly, Defendant shall present a
witness to testify as to topics 3 and 4.
asserts that it has presented documents which show its net
worth for the years 2015-2017. Defendant argues that it will
stipulate to the figures shown in those documents and
therefore the information sought in topic 5 is cumulative,
duplicative, and unnecessarily burdensome. In response,
Plaintiff argues that Defendant has failed to offer any
reason why the requested discovery cannot occur. Plaintiff
argues that it is entitled to deposition testimony to explain
the financial statements so the jury can understand them.
has failed to offer any argument as to how the requested
deposition testimony will not be duplicative to the documents
already produced. Fed.R.Civ.P. 26(b)(1) imposes a
proportionality limit on discovery. In this instance, the
discovery sought by Plaintiff lacks proportionality in light
of Defendant's produced documents and offered
stipulation. To the extent Plaintiff ...