United States District Court, D. Connecticut
PUBLIC SERVICE INSURANCE CO.
MOUNT VIEW REALTY, LLC, et al.
ORDER RE: MOUNT VIEW'S MOTION TO COMPEL
SARAH A. L. MERRIAM UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
before the Court is a Motion to Compel filed by defendant
Mount View Realty, LLC, (“Mount View”) requesting
production of documents and more responsive answers to
certain interrogatories by plaintiff Public Service Insurance
Co. (“PSIC”). See Doc. #66. The Court has
previously filed an order addressing the portion of the
motion related to document production. See Doc. #119. This
order addresses the portion of the motion related to
interrogatory responses. For the reasons set forth below,
Mount View's Motion to Compel [Doc. #66] is hereby
GRANTED, in part, and DENIED, in part.
order addresses the requests in Mount View's motion to
compel seeking “more responsive answers to certain
interrogatories.” Doc. #66 at 2. Mount View asserts
that “PSIC's answers are inadequate” as to
Interrogatories 4, 12, and 13 and that PSIC “did not
provide any answer at all” to Interrogatories 14, 15,
16, and 20. Doc. #67 at 10. The Court will address each
challenged interrogatory in turn.
initial matter, this action was filed by PSIC “for the
purpose of determining the parties' respective rights and
obligations” under the relevant insurance policy. Doc.
#1 at 1. Accordingly, evidence relating to PSIC's
standard policies and construction of terms is discoverable.
26(b)(1) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure sets forth
the scope and limitations of permissible discovery:
Parties may obtain discovery regarding any nonprivileged
matter that is relevant to any party's claim or defense
and proportional to the needs of the case, considering the
importance of the issues at stake in the action, the amount
in controversy, the parties' relative access to relevant
information, the parties' resources, the importance of
the discovery in resolving the issues, and whether the burden
or expense of the proposed discovery outweighs its likely
benefit. Information within this scope of discovery need not
be admissible in evidence to be discoverable.
Fed. R. Civ. P. 26(b)(1). “The party resisting
discovery bears the burden of showing why discovery should be
denied.” Cole v. Towers Perrin Forster &
Crosby, 256 F.R.D. 79, 80 (D. Conn. 2009). The objecting
party's burden is to “demonstrate specifically how,
despite the broad and liberal construction afforded the
federal discovery rules, each request is not relevant or how
each question is overly broad, burdensome or oppressive by
submitting affidavits or offering evidence revealing the
nature of the burden.” Ghawi v. Law Offices of
Howard Lee Schiff, No. 3:13CV00115(JBA)(JGM), 2015 WL
2374577, at *3 (D. Conn. May 18, 2015) (internal citation and
alterations omitted). “A conclusory assertion of
burdensomeness is entitled to no weight whatsoever.”
Cris v. Fareri, No. 3:10CV01926(RNC)(DFM), 2011 WL
4433961, at *1 (D. Conn. Sept. 22, 2011) (internal quotation
marks and citation omitted) (collecting cases).
brief in opposition to the motion to compel makes a blanket
argument that the information sought by the challenged
interrogatories is “wholly irrelevant” and
constitutes a “fishing expedition.” Doc. #86 at
5. The Court disagrees. The interrogatories generally seek
information that would assist Mount View in understanding how
PSIC interprets the relevant policy provisions. “In
order to interpret the Policy, [Mount View] is entitled to
explore what risks [PSIC] expected to cover when it used
terms similar to those in the Policy.” Pentair
Water Treatment (OH) Co. v. Cont'l Ins. Co., No.
08CV3604(BSJ)(JCF), 2009 WL 3817600 (S.D.N.Y. Nov. 16, 2009).
Information regarding particular policy terms and their
interpretation by an insurer is relevant and discoverable.
See Thompson v. Nat'l Union Fire Ins. Co. of
Pittsburgh, Pa., No. 3:14CV00259(WWE), 2015 WL 753721,
at *4 (D. Conn. Feb. 23, 2015).
the intent of the parties with respect to an insurance policy
is generally derived from the four corners of the policy, a
court also may consider extrinsic evidence to ascertain the
intent of the parties, if the terms of the insurance policy
are reasonably susceptible to more than one interpretation,
which renders the terms to be ambiguous.” Hartford
Roman Catholic Diocesan Corp. v. Interstate Fire & Cas.
Co., 297 F.R.D. 22, 30 (D. Conn. 2014), objections
overruled, No. 3:12CV1641(JBA), 2015 WL 164069 (D. Conn. Jan.
13, 2015) (internal citations and quotation marks omitted).
This case concerns a dispute regarding the proper
interpretation of a “water leakage” exclusion.
Evidence that would illuminate the meaning of that exclusion
is relevant and discoverable.
View's Interrogatory 4 requests that plaintiff provide
additional information regarding answers provided in response
to Interrogatory 3.
Identify the underwriting rules or requirements or guidelines
in effect for insuring multi-unit residential apartment
buildings in Connecticut that applied to Mount View's
building at the time of issuance of each policy identified in
response to Interrogatory 3.
#67-2 at 12. In response to Interrogatory 3, PSIC identified
(or at least conceded the existence of) three insurance
policies issued to defendant with effective dates of August
16, 2012; August 16, 2013; and August 16, 2014. Interrogatory
4 is limited to matters specifically pertaining to Mount
View's covered property, and to these dates.
responds with a litany of general objections, and the
assertion that it would be “impossible to state with
precision all ‘underwriting rules or requirements or
guidelines' in effect in Connecticut[.]” Doc. #86
at 6. PSIC's response further asserts that PSIC's
“Underwriting Department would have applied and