United States District Court, D. Connecticut
LORI T. TYLL, Plaintiff,
STANLEY BLACK & DECKER LIFE INSURANCE PROGRAM and AETNA LIFE INSURANCE COMPANY, Defendant.
RULING AND ORDER ON DISCOVERY DISPUTE
A. BOLDEN UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
September 25, 2014, Michael A. Tyll died during an
international flight. Am. Compl., ECF No. 1, at ¶ 18.
Lori Tyll, his wife (“Plaintiff”), filed this
lawsuit, seeking double indemnity benefits and death and
personal loss benefits allegedly owed under the Employee
Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (“ERISA”).
Id. at ¶ 17.
Tyll alleges that AETNA Life Insurance Company
(“AETNA”) wrongly denied her insurance claim and
its appeals, Id. at ¶¶ 29-35, 39, and asks
this Court to conduct a de novo review of
AETNA's denial. Id. at ¶ 40. In the
alternative, Ms. Tyll argues that AETNA lacked the
“authority to make discretionary benefit
decisions” because the Stanley Black & Decker Life
Insurance Plan (“Stanley”) retained that
authority, Id. at ¶¶ 24-26. Under that
theory, Ms. Tyll asks the Court to review the benefits
decision or grant her equitable relief. ¶¶ 42-54.
September 5, 2018, this Court convened a hearing on
Defendants' motions to dismiss Count III of
Plaintiff's complaint (i.e., the contract reformation
count). ECF No. 51. At that hearing, the parties alerted the
Court to a discovery dispute. Id. The Court
permitted the parties to submit discovery dispute briefs.
See Letter Brief re: Discovery Disputes by Lori T.
Tyll, ECF No. 55; Letter Brief by Aetna Life Ins. Co., ECF
October 18, 2018, the Court held a telephonic status
conference on the discovery dispute. ECF No. 58. As explained
at that time and in the parties' filings, Ms. Tyll seeks
an order compelling AETNA to conduct further electronic
discovery and to produce a Rule 30(b)(6) witness. Letter
Brief re: Discovery Disputes by Lori T. Tyll. AETNA objects.
Letter Brief by Aetna Life Ins. Co.
reasons stated below, Plaintiff's requests to compel
AETNA to conduct further electronic discovery or produce a
Rule 30(b)(6) witness is DENIED. The Court
will extend discovery, however until November 30, 2018.
FACTUAL AND PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND
Court assumes the parties' familiarity with the
background facts of this case. The sufficiency of discovery
is presently before the Court.
December 22, 2017, the parties submitted a Rule 26(f)
planning report. ECF No. 28. On January 26, 2018, the Court
convened a scheduling conference, ECF No. 35, after which the
Court issued a scheduling order. ECF No. 37. On February 2,
2018, Defendants, collectively, produced a proposed
administrative record in excess of 1, 200 pages. Letter Brief
re: Discovery Disputes by Lori T. Tyll at 2. About four
months later, Plaintiff contacted Defendants, alleged a host
of insufficiencies in the proposed administrative record, and
requested that Defendants continue to search for relevant
documents. Id. at Ex. A-1, ECF No. 55-1.
25, 2018, in a companion case before Judge Janet C. Hall,
Plaintiff filed three motions seeking deposition of a Rule
30(b)(6) expert, electronic discovery of terms such as
“Tyll” and “07514045955” (a claim
number at issue), and other relief against Stanley and
Federal Insurance Company (“Federal”), who also
insured Mr. Tyll. Tyll v. Stanley Black & Decker Life
Insurance Program, 3:17-cv-01574-JCH, Compl., ECF No. 1;
ECF Nos. 40-42.
same day, Plaintiff served Defendants in this case with a
request to depose an AETNA executive on June 5, 2018, three
days before the close of discovery. Letter Brief by Aetna
Life Ins. Co. A few days later, on June 4-5, 2018, the
parties exchanged e-mails. Letter Brief re: Discovery
Disputes by Lori T. Tyll, Ex. A; Letter Brief by Aetna Life
Ins. Co., Ex. B. On June 5, 2018, by e-mail, Defendants
“consent[ed] to a discovery extension . . . provided
that plaintiff drops the request for depositions” and
seek additional written discovery only. Id. Later
that day, the parties filed a consent motion to modify the
scheduling order. ECF No. 40. On June 11, 2018, the Court
granted the motion and extended the discovery deadline to
August 10, 2018. ECF No. 43.
12, 2018, in the companion case, Judge Hall granted
Plaintiff's motion for Rule 30(b)(6) depositions of
Stanley and Federal, but denied Plaintiff's motions to
compel additional electronic discovery. Letter Brief re:
Discovery Disputes by Lori T. Tyll, Ex. D [Courtroom Minutes
- Civil, 3:17-cv-1574].
the summer of 2018, Stanley performed the electronic searches
requested by Plaintiff, for this case, and produced 3, 274
additional pages of allegedly relevant documents.
Id. AETNA did not engage in additional electronic
searching. Id; Letter Brief by Aetna Life Ins. Co.
at 1. AETNA's decision not to comply with Plaintiff's
discovery request forms the basis of this discovery dispute
August 13, 2018, the parties again moved to extend the
discovery deadline. ECF No. 48. The Court granted the motion.
ECF No. 49. On September 5, 2018, the parties alerted the
Court to their unresolved discovery issue. ECF No. 51.
See also Letter Brief ...