Miller et al v. York Risk Services Group

Filing 344

ORDER GRANTING IN PART AND DENYING IN PART 256 Motion to Compel. Defendant shall respond to Request for Production 15 within 14 days from the date of this order, to the extent they possess responsive documents; and defendants need not respond to Requests for Production 13 and 14. Signed by Judge John W Sedwick on 8/19/14.(JWS)

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1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT 9 DISTRICT OF ARIZONA 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 LAURIE MILLER, BRIAN DIMAS, KIM MILLS, ANTHONY SOZA, BRUCE CAMPBELL, KELLIE BOWERS, TIM HUNTER, BRIAN SAYLOR, MICHAEL SCHAMADAN, INDIVIDUALLY AND AS REPRESENTATIVE OF THE ESTATE OF HIS WIFE, BRANDI SCHAMADAN, ) ) ) ) ) ) ) ) ) Plaintiffs, ) ) vs. ) ) YORK RISK SERVICES GROUP and ) FRANK GATES SERVICE COMPANY, ) ) Defendants. ) ) 2:13-cv-1419 JWS ORDER AND OPINION [Re: Motion at Docket 256] 20 21 I. MOTIONS PRESENTED 22 At docket 256, plaintiffs move to compel defendants to respond to certain 23 discovery requests. Defendants’ response is at docket 303. Plaintiffs’ reply is at 24 docket 316. Oral argument was requested but would not assist the court. 25 II. BACKGROUND 26 Plaintiffs are or were employed as City of Phoenix (“City”) firefighters. 27 Defendants are third-party insurance administrators for the City who adjusted City 28 employees workers’ compensation claims. Plaintiffs contend that defendants, with the -1- 1 assistance and knowledge of certain City employees, wrongfully denied and delayed 2 their workers’ compensation benefits. 3 In their Fourth Amended Complaint,1 plaintiffs plead four claims. First, all 4 plaintiffs allege that defendants, acting in concert with the City, fraudulently denied their 5 workers’ compensation benefits in violation of the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt 6 Organizations Act (“RICO”), 18 U.S.C. §§ 1961, 1964, and 1965. Second, all plaintiffs 7 allege that defendants violated Arizona law by aiding and abetting the City’s breach of 8 the City’s contractual duty of good faith and fair dealing. In the third claim, plaintiff 9 Michael Schamadan pleads that defendants aided and abetted the City’s breach of its 10 duty of good faith and fair dealing as it relates to Brandi Schamadan, thus causing him 11 to suffer a loss of consortium. The fourth claim is also one pled only by Michael 12 Schamadan. In that claim Schamadan alleges that defendants intentionally or 13 recklessly inflicted severe emotional distress upon him. 14 15 16 III. DISCUSSION In their motion at docket 256, plaintiffs ask the court to order defendant York to respond to three specific requests for production as follows: 17 REQUEST FOR PRODUCTION NO. 13: 18 The documents related to Defendant’s staffing models, memos, or analysis for administering benefits under the Contract, including any analysis or discussion related to the number of employees necessary to staff the City of Phoenix contract, workloads, and productivity. 19 20 REQUEST FOR PRODUCTION NO. 14: 21 22 The documents related to audit staffing models for the City of Phoenix Contract. 23 REQUEST FOR PRODUCTION NO. 15: 24 The documents relating to adjuster turnover and personnel analysis for adjusters working the City of Phoenix Contract. 25 26 27 28 1 Doc. 208. -2- 1 Several objections were made to each of the three requests, including an 2 objection that the discovery sought falls outside the scope of discovery established by 3 Fed. R. Civ. P. 26(b)(1). Of course, that rule embodies a wide scope. Information 4 sought need not be admissible in evidence, it need only be information whose 5 production is “reasonably calculated to lead to the discovery of admissible evidence.”2 6 With respect to RFPs 13 and 14, the court concludes that the information sought 7 is not reasonably calculated to lead to the discovery of admissible evidence. Whatever 8 “staffing model” York used, how York chose to staff the work for the City would not 9 inform judgment about York’s alleged participation in a City scheme to defraud its 10 injured employees or operate a RICO enterprise. The level of staffing could have been 11 “just right to do the work,” or higher than needed, or lower than needed. Knowing which 12 it was would not yield evidence of York’s participation in a City scheme. Obviously, “just 13 right” staffing would demonstrate nothing. Staffing at an excessive level would not 14 demonstrate an effort by York to assist the City to cheat its employees. Staffing at too 15 low a level would not be evidence of York’s participation in a RICO or fraud scheme, but 16 only evidence that York was trying to cut corners to increase its own profits. 17 With respect to RFP 15, the court concludes that the type of information sought 18 is reasonably calculated to lead to the discovery of admissible evidence. Documents 19 showing that adjusters who were more generous in approving claims were taken off the 20 job or subject to some other negative personnel action, or that those who were less 21 generous were provided with some benefit could clearly lead to the discovery of 22 admissible evidence. 23 Defendants raised additional objections to RFP 15, one of which is that it is 24 vague and ambiguous because it relies on the undefined terms “relating to adjuster 25 turnover” and “personnel analysis.” The court agrees that these phrases are 26 problematic. However, to the extent defendants have records which show that some 27 28 2 Fed. R. Civ. P. 26(b)(1). -3- 1 adjusters were removed from work on the City contract and others were not, such 2 records need to be produced. Similarly, if defendants have records which show 3 favorable or unfavorable personnel decisions for any such adjusters, those need to be 4 produced (but must be redacted so as not to disclose any adjuster’s social security 5 number, home address, or health related information). 6 The other objections to RFP 15 are not well founded. FRP 15 is not overly broad 7 or a “fishing expedition.” The time is necessarily limited to the time that the defendants 8 had a contract with the City to adjust its employees’ claims. 9 10 IV. CONCLUSION For the reasons above, the motion at docket 256 is GRANTED in part and 11 DENIED in part as follows: (1) Defendant shall respond to RFP 15 within 14 days from 12 the date of this order, to the extent they possess responsive documents; and 13 (2) defendants need not respond to RFPs 13 and 14. 14 DATED this 19th day of August 2014. 15 16 /s/ JOHN W. SEDWICK SENIOR UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 -4-

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