Keathley v. Grange Insurance Company of Michigan
OPINION and ORDER Denying Plaintiff's Motion to Compel Defendant to Produce Documents. Signed by District Judge Paul D. Borman. (DTof)
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
EASTERN DISTRICT OF MICHIGAN
Case No. 15-cv-11888
Paul D. Borman
United States District Judge
COMPANY OF MICHIGAN,
Mona K. Majzoub
United States Magistrate Judge
OPINION AND ORDER DENYING PLAINTIFF’S MOTION TO COMPEL
DEFENDANT TO PRODUCE DOCUMENTS THAT WERE THE SUBJECT OF
A COURT ORDERED IN CAMERA REVIEW: ALL OF THE REQUESTED
DOCUMENTS ARE PRIVILEGED COMMUNICATIONS BETWEEN
DEFENDANT AND ITS OUTSIDE COUNSEL PROTECTED BY THE
DEFENDANT’S ATTORNEY CLIENT PRIVILEGE AND/OR THE WORK
The Court’s Opinion and Order of March 30, 2017, stated, inter alia, that the
Court would conduct an in camera review of the Defendant’s claimed privileged
communications between its employees and its outside legal counsel “to verify (or
defeat) Grange’s assertion, which Grange bears the burden of establishing, that Mr.
Walker [outside counsel] was retained solely for the purpose of, and did through these
many claimed privileged communications, provide only legal advice regarding
coverage.” ECF No. 58, p. 6.
In conducting its review, the Court recognized the competing legal doctrines
that apply to its review. On one side is Defendant Grange’s right to protection of its
documents relating to legal advice under the attorney-client privilege and the work
product doctrine. On the other side is the Plaintiff’s right, in the context of an
insurance claim, to “communications by attorneys acting as insurance claims
investigators, rather than as attorneys, [which] are not protected by the attorney client
privilege.” 7 Mile & Keystone, LLC v. Travelers Cas. Ins. Co. #11-cv-12930, 2012
WL 6553 585, at *3(E.D. MI, Dec. 14, 2012) (“Defendant cannot simply delegate
investigative work to a lawyer and claim it is protected by its lawyer-client privilege
or the work product doctrine.”)
Defendant provided the documents ordered for in camera review on April 26,
2017: a copy of its cover letter was provided to Plaintiff’s counsel.
Per the March 30, 2017 Order (ECF No. 58, p. 7), the Court has reviewed the
following documents: 56-57, 90-98, 138-139, 141-142, 143-145, 187-189, 192-197,
215, 221, 227, 576, 578, 581, 582, 598, 599, 601-602, 603-650.
The Court concludes that all of the documents provided by Defendant Grange
under this order are privileged communications between outside counsel and Grange
employees, and accordingly are protected by the attorney-client privilege and/or the
work product doctrine. In particular, the Court finds that many of the communications
dealt with outside counsel’s preparation for the Examination Under Oath (EUO) of the
Plaintiff, a legal proceeding.
In conclusion, the Court is satisfied that Defendant’s claims of protection from
disclosure are valid; the documents are privileged under the attorney-client privilege
and/or the work product doctrine. Accordingly, the Court DENIES Plaintiff’s motion
to compel discovery of those documents.
s/Paul D. Borman
PAUL D. BORMAN
UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
Dated: July 6, 2017
CERTIFICATE OF SERVICE
The undersigned certifies that a copy of the foregoing order was served upon each attorney
or party of record herein by electronic means or first class U.S. mail on July 6, 2017.
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