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Hill v. Northland Casualty Co.

Superior Court of Connecticut, Judicial District of New Haven, New Haven

September 25, 2015

Sheralee Hill
v.
Northland Casualty Company et al

MEMORANDUM OF DECISION RE OBJECTION TO PLAINTIFF'S REQUEST TO PRODUCE (#107)

Robin L. Wilson, J.

I

STATEMENT OF CASE AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY

The plaintiff, Sheralee Hill, commenced this uninsured/underinsured motorist action by service of writ, summons and complaint on the defendants, Northland Casualty Company (Northland) and Progressive Northwestern Insurance Company (Progressive) (collectively defendants). The plaintiff alleges that Alfredo Izzo collided with the tractor trailer she was operating and as a result of the negligence of Alfredo Izzo she sustained injuries. At the time of the accident, Izzo was underinsured within the meaning of the defendants' insurance contracts. The plaintiff claims that both defendants issued policies of insurance to her, which provided uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage, and by virtue of the terms of the defendants' contracts of insurance with the plaintiff, she claims she is entitled to underinsured motorist benefits.

The defendant, Progressive has objected to the plaintiff's request for copies of the complete claims file regarding the subject accident prior to the institution of the present lawsuit.

The objection was scheduled as take papers on this court's September 21, 2015 non-arguable short calendar.

II

DISCUSSION

" The granting or denial of a discovery request rests in the sound discretion of the court . . . The court's discretion applies to decisions concerning whether the information is material, privileged, substantially more available to the disclosing party, or within the disclosing party's knowledge, possession or power . . ." (Citations omitted.) Standard Tallow Corp. v. Jowdy, 190 Conn. 48, 57-60, 459 A.2d 503 (1983).

A

Attorney/Client Privilege

The Supreme Court has on numerous occasions " reaffirmed the importance of the attorney-client privilege and has recognized the long-standing, strong public policy of protecting attorney-client communications. In Connecticut, the attorney-client privilege protects both the confidential giving of professional advice by an attorney acting in the capacity of a legal advisor to those who can act on it, as well as the giving of information to the lawyer to enable counsel to give sound and informed advice. The privilege fosters full and frank communications between attorneys and their clients and thereby promote[s] the broader public interests in the observation of law and [the] distraction of justice." (Internal quotation marks omitted; citations omitted.) Olson v. Accessory Controls & Equipment Corp., 254 Conn. 145, 156-57, 757 A.2d 14 (2000).

" The presence of third parties generally destroys the confidentiality of a communication, precluding a claim of privilege . . . This rule does not apply, however, when the presence of the third parties is required to achieve the purpose of the communication." (Citation omitted.) State v. Mark R., 300 Conn. 590, 598, 17 A.3d 1 (2011). " Appropriately, the attorney-client privilege extends to interpreters, and to clerks and agents employed by the attorney . . . in the business committed to his [or her] charge." (Internal quotation marks omitted.) Olson v. Accessory Controls & Equipment Corp., supra, 254 Conn. 158. Similarly, " [t]he attorney-client privilege can attach to reports of third parties made at the request of the attorney or the client where the purpose of the report was to put in usable form information obtained from the client." (Internal quotation marks omitted.) Id., 160. Accordingly, to the ...


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