United States District Court, W.D. Texas, Austin Division
HIGHTOWER, UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE.
this Court are Plaintiff’s Opposed Motion to Compel
Against Defendant Arch Specialty Insurance Company, filed on
August 6, 2019 (Dkt. No. 41); Plaintiff’s Request for
Oral Argument on its Opposed Motion to Compel, filed on
August 20, 2019 (Dkt. No. 50); Plaintiff’s Motion to
Permit Depositions After Discovery Deadline, filed on
September 20, 2019 (Dkt. No. 56); and the parties’
various response and reply briefs. On September 23, 2019, the
District Court referred the above motions to the undersigned
Magistrate Judge for resolution pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §
636(b)(1)(A), Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 72, and Rule
1(c) of Appendix C of the Local Rules of the United States
District Court for the Western District of Texas
August 17, 2018, Plaintiff Texas Disposal Systems, Inc.
(“TDS”) filed this breach of insurance contract
lawsuit against its insurers FCCI Insurance Company
(“FCCI”) and Arch Specialty Insurance Company
“Defendants”). TDS contends that FCCI prematurely
terminated its duty to defend TDS in an underlying wrongful
death lawsuit brought against TDS. TDS also alleges that
Arch, its secondary insurer, assumed the defense of the
underlying lawsuit but later refused to defend TDS in the
lawsuit. Plaintiff’s Complaint alleges breach of
contract claims against both Defendants and additional claims
against Arch, including violations of the Texas Insurance
Code and the common-law duty of good faith and fair dealing
and a request for declaratory judgment.
filed the instant Motion to Compel seeking to compel
production of certain documents in Arch’s possession
that it alleges are central to its claims. TDS also asks the
Court to order Arch to provide additional information about
former Arch employee Julie Tucker’s medical condition
and to provide TDS with dates for her deposition. In
addition, TDS has filed a Motion to Permit Depositions after
the discovery deadline in this case.
the Court finds that oral argument is unnecessary in this
case, Plaintiff’s Request for Oral Argument (Dkt. No.
50) is DENIED. The Court makes the following
rulings with regard to the discovery motions.
Rule of Civil Procedure 26(b)(1) provides that “Parties
may obtain discovery regarding any nonprivileged matter that
is relevant to any party’s claim or defense.”
Fed.R.Civ.P. 26(b)(1). The scope of discovery is broad.
Crosby v. La. Health Serv. & Indem. Co., 647
F.3d 258, 262 (5th Cir. 2011). “A discovery request is
relevant when the request seeks admissible evidence or
‘is reasonably calculated to lead to the discovery of
admissible evidence.’” Id. (quoting
Wiwa v. Royal Dutch Petrol. Co., 392 F.3d 812, 820
(5th Cir. 2004)).
party withholds information otherwise discoverable by
claiming that the information is privileged, the party must:
“(i) expressly make the claim; and (ii) describe the
nature of the documents, communications, or tangible things
not produced or disclosed – and do so in a manner that,
without revealing information itself privileged or protected,
will enable other parties to assess the claim.”
party has attempted in good faith to obtain discovery without
court action, that party may move for an order compelling
disclosure or discovery. Fed.R.Civ.P. 37(a)(1). The party
resisting discovery must show how each discovery request is
not relevant or otherwise objectionable. McLeod,
Alexander, Powel & Apffel, P.C. v. Quarles, 894 F.2d
1482, 1485 (5th Cir. 1990). “The Court must balance the
need for discovery by the requesting party and the relevance
of the discovery to the case against the harm, prejudice, or
burden to the other party.” Cmedia, LLC v. LifeKey
Healthcare, LLC, 216 F.R.D. 387, 389 (N.D. Tex. 2003).
“A trial court enjoys wide discretion in determining
the scope and effect of discovery.” Sanders v.
Shell Oil Co., 678 F.2d 614, 618 (5th Cir. 1982).
Plaintiff’s Motion to Compel
Motion to Compel, TDS seeks to compel (1) all claim notes and
documents from Arch’s document retention database
relating to TDS’s claims at issue in this lawsuit, and
(2) all correspondence between Arch and Thompson Coe, a law
firm retained by Arch in the underlying lawsuit. TDS also
requests that the Court order Arch to provide additional
information about former Arch employee Julie Tucker’s
medical condition, and offer dates for her deposition