Locke v. American Family Mutual Insurance Company
MINUTE ORDER denying 18 Defendant's Motion for Protective Order Concerning30(b)(6) Deposition of American Family Mutual Insurance Company. By Magistrate Judge Michael J. Watanabe on 10/16/2013.(klyon, )
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE DISTRICT OF COLORADO
Civil Action No. 13-cv-01184-MSK-MJW
ABBY M. LOCKE,
AMERICAN FAMILY MUTUAL INSURANCE COMPANY,
Entered by Magistrate Judge Michael J. Watanabe
It is hereby ORDERED that Defendant’s Motion for Protective Order Concerning
30(b)(6) Deposition of American Family Mutual Insurance Company (docket no. 18) is
DENIED for the following reasons. Each party shall pay their own attorney fees and
costs since this court finds that under these circumstances, as outlined in the moving
papers by both sides, it would be unjust to award expenses.
The decision to issue a protective order rests within the sound discretion of the
trial court. Wang v. Hsu, 919 F.2d 130 (10th Cir. 1990). At to topics 6, 7, and 8 outlined
in the Rule 30(b)(6) Notice, this court finds that topics 6, 7, and 8 are not overly broad
and do not attempt to elicit trade secrets of defendant American Family. Instead, such
inquiry into topics 6, 7, and 8 are “reasonably calculated to lead to the discovery of
admissible evidence” and plaintiff is entitled to discovery of all information related to the
handling of her insurance claim, regardless of what part of the company [defendant] has
the information. See Rose Medical Center v. State Farm Mut. Auto, Ins. Co., 903 P.2d
15, 17 (Colo. App. 1994). This court further finds that plaintiff is entitled to inquire
through the discovery process as to: (1) whether defendant American Family undertook
any effort to conduct an asset check prior to plaintiff’s repeated requests for permission
to settle with the at-fault driver; (2) if so why and if not why not; (3) whether defendant
American Family had any policies and/or procedures with respect to when an asset
check should be requested; (4) whether defendant American Family complied with any
such internal policies and/or procedures in either requesting or failing to request as
asset check; and (5) whether a separate subrogation file was maintained with respect to
plaintiff’s UIM claim, as the claim log notes in the UIM claim file are limited. These
areas of inquiry outlined in (1) through (5), inclusive, are directly relevant as to plaintiff’s
theory of the case.
As to topic 4, this court finds that such topic does not call for any protected or
improper legal opinions or conclusions. Here, plaintiff has plead an unreasonable delay
or denial of insurance benefits pursuant to C.R.S. § 10-3-1115 and 1116 which require
plaintiff to prove that defendant American Family delayed or denied payment of
insurance benefits without a reasonable basis. See CJI-Civ. 25:4 (2013). Plaintiff has
also plead a common law bad faith claim which requires plaintiff to prove that defendant
American Family unreasonably denied payment of a valid claim or failed to reasonably
investigate the claim or to gather facts. Cook v. Sentry Ins., 194 P.3d 422, 427 (Colo.
App. 2008). Thus, plaintiff must show that defendant American Family knew or should
have known that its conduct with respect to handling plaintiff’s claim was unreasonable.
This court finds that industry standards are relevant under Fed. R. Evid. 401, and those
unquestionably include an insurer knowing of, following, and having in place reasonable
procedures to comply with statutes, regulations, and case law. See Unfair Claims
Settlement Practices Act, C.R.S. § 10-3-1104(1)(h)(III). For these reasons, the subject
motion (docket no. 18) should be denied.
Date: October 16, 2013
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