Abshire v. Zurich American Insurance Company et al
ORDER denying 29 Motion to Compel Discovery. Signed by Magistrate Judge Katherine P. Nelson on 7/7/2014. (srr)
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE SOUTHERN DISTRICT OF ALABAMA
ZURICH AMERICAN INSURANCE
COMPANY and SEDGWICK CLAIMS
MANAGEMENT SERVICES, INC.,
Civil Action No. 13-00486-N
This action is before the Court on the Plaintiff’s Motion to Compel (Doc. 29) and the
Defendants’ response in opposition (Doc. 32).
Upon consideration of the motion and the
response, the Court ordered the Defendants to produce to the undersigned for in camera
inspection the adjuster’s claims notes at issue in the motion to compel. (See Doc. 33). The
Defendants have timely done so and have filed supplemental materials in support of their
response. (Doc. 34). After examining the adjuster’s claims notes in camera, the Court agrees
with the Defendants that the notes are protected from disclosure by attorney-client privilege.
See Fed. R. Civ. P. 26(b)(1) (“Unless otherwise limited by court order, the scope of discovery is
as follows: Parties may obtain discovery regarding any nonprivileged matter that is relevant to
any party’s claim or defense…” (emphasis added)).
This action is before the Court on the basis of diversity. “[I]n a civil case, state law
governs privilege regarding a claim or defense for which state law supplies the rule of decision.”
Fed. R. Evid. 501. In Alabama, “ ‘[t]he general rule is that an attorney cannot disclose the
advice he gave to his client about matters concerning which he was consulted professionally, nor
can the client be required to divulge the advice that his attorney gave him.’ ”
Meadowbrook Ins. Grp., Inc., 987 So. 2d 540, 550 (Ala. 2007) (quoting Ex parte Great Am.
Surplus Lines Ins. Co., 540 So. 2d 1357, 1358 (Ala. 1989)) (alteration and emphasis added). The
Court finds that the adjuster’s notes summarize communications between Defendant Sedgwick
Claims Management Services, Inc.’s agent and its legal counsel regarding the Plaintiff’s
worker’s compensation claim. Accordingly, it is ORDERED that the Plaintiff’s Motion to
Compel (Doc. 29) is DENIED.
DONE and ORDERED this the 7th day of July 2014.
/s/ Katherine P. Nelson
KATHERINE P. NELSON
UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
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