Court of Appeals of Texas, Sixth District, Texarkana
Submitted: July 11, 2017
Morriss, C.J., Moseley and Burgess, JJ.
K. Burgess Justice
original mandamus proceeding emanates from a discovery
dispute regarding allegedly privileged attorney-client
communications-comprised of an insurance claim file-in
connection with a lawsuit in which relator John Goin has
alleged various causes of action against the real party in
interest, Travelers Property Casualty Company of America
(Travelers), based on Travelers' alleged abandonment of
Goin's defense in a lawsuit in which an eight-figure
damage award was rendered against him. The trial court
reviewed the disputed communications in camera and upheld the
privilege with respect to certain of the communications.
Goin, together with relator Hope Crump,  filed this
petition for a writ of mandamus, asking this Court to direct
the 336th Judicial District Court of Fannin County to compel
Travelers to produce the disputed claim file free of
redaction. We conditionally grant, in part, the petition for
writ of mandamus.
January 2012, Goin, an employee of Mica Corporation (Mica),
was driving a pickup truck owned by Mica when it was involved
in a rollover accident in which the passenger, Hope Crump,
was ejected and rendered a paraplegic. In March 2012, Crump
sued Goin and Mica in Anderson County, seeking recovery of
damages for personal injuries sustained as a result of the
accident. The truck, and all permissive users, were covered
by a commercial automobile policy issued to Mica by
Travelers. Consequently, Travelers hired counsel to defend
Goin in the lawsuit.
January 2013, Crump nonsuited the Anderson County lawsuit and
later refiled her claims in Dallas County. Travelers did not
tender a defense on Goin's behalf for approximately
eighteen months after the lawsuit was filed, by which time
most of the pretrial deadlines had expired. The trial took
place in February 2015, at the conclusion of which the trial
court entered judgment against Goin in the amount of $10,
125, 433.96, prejudgment interest in the amount of $220,
532.40, and post-judgment interest at the rate of 5% per
annum. In April 2015, Goin filed suit (bad faith lawsuit)
against Travelers, alleging causes of action for breach of
contract, tortious interference, promissory estoppel, breach
of fiduciary duty, negligence, breach of the duty of good
faith and fair dealing, unfair insurance practices, deceptive
trade practices, violations of the Texas Insurance Code, and
fraud, among other things, primarily as a result of
Travelers' failure to defend and to indemnify Goin in the
Dallas County lawsuit.
the course of the bad faith lawsuit, Goin requested a copy of
Travelers' claim file relating to the Dallas County
lawsuit, as the adjuster assigned to the claim testified in
his deposition that he reviewed the claim file to prepare for
his deposition. Travelers produced a heavily redacted version
of the claim file and asserted attorney-client privilege with
respect to the redacted information. Both Goin and Crump
moved to compel the production of an unredacted version of
the claim file, contending that Travelers' internal
discussions regarding its decision to abandon Goins'
defense went to the heart of Goin's bad faith and fraud
claims. Travelers produced a privilege log, and asserted that
the redacted information was protected by the attorney-client
privilege. In addition, it proffered a declaration of senior
counsel, Alicia Barton, in support of the privilege
assertion. The declaration reads,
1. My name is Alicia Barton, my date of birth is June 5,
1978, and I reside in Plano[, ] Texas.
2. I am of sound mind and am in all respects competent to
make this declaration. The facts contained in this
declaration are true and correct.
3. I am employed as Senior Counsel by The Travelers Indemnity
Company and their property-casualty affiliates, one of which
is Travelers Property Casualty Company of America
("Travelers"), and I have worked in this role since
September 1, 2010.
4. My role as Senior Counsel is to provide legal advice in
connection with insurance claim related matters.
5. I am licensed to practice law in the State of Texas and am
in good standing.
6. I declare under penalty of perjury that the foregoing is
true and correct.
advanced no other testimonial evidence in support of ...