United States District Court, D. Connecticut
RULING ON DEFENDANT SAVALLE'S MOTION TO COMPEL
SARAH A. L. MERRIAM, UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE.
before the Court is a motion by defendant Vincent Savalle
(“Savalle”) seeking to compel further responses
to his written discovery requests directed to plaintiff Main
Street America Assurance Company (“Main Street”).
[Doc. #39]. Main Street has filed an objection to
Savalle's motion. [Doc. #50]. For the reasons articulated
below, and to the extent Savalle's motion may be
construed as seeking to compel the production of a privilege
log, the Court GRANTS, in part,
Savalle's Motion to Compel. [Doc. #39].
Court presumes general familiarity with the background of
this matter. However, the Court will briefly address the
procedural and factual background as relevant to the pending
motion to compel.
Street brings this action seeking a declaration of its rights
under a “Businessowners Policy” issued to
Savalle. See generally Doc. #19, Amended Complaint.
Specifically, Main Street seeks a declaration that it is not
obligated to defend or pay the claims that Lee Winakor
(“Winakor”), Savalle's co-defendant here,
brought against Savalle in state court. See
generally Id. Winakor obtained a judgment in the
state court against defendant Savalle as a result of
Savalle's alleged faulty workmanship at Winakor's
property. See Id. at ¶5, ¶¶12-16.
That judgment is currently being appealed. See Doc.
#27 at 6.
Street asserts that Savalle failed to provide notice of
Winakor's lawsuit, and that the claims asserted against
Savalle by Winakor in the underlying state court litigation
are not covered by the policy at issue. See Id. at
¶¶17-19, ¶¶23-26, ¶¶31-35,
¶¶40-45. Savalle has filed a counterclaim against
Main Street alleging, inter alia, that his office manager
telephoned plaintiff's agent, Marcus Insurance, “to
advise it of the Winakor lawsuit ... on July 22, 2015, at the
defendant Savalle's direction[.]” Doc. #20 at 5. As
stated in the parties' Rule 26(f) report, Savalle
contends that Main Street “breached its duty to defend
him, to his substantial cost, and that [Main Street's]
breach bars it from the protection of the terms of the
policy[.]” Doc. #25 at 2-3.
August 12, 2019, Savalle filed the motion to compel now at
issue, asserting that Main Street had failed “to answer
five of the seven interrogatories the named defendant
propounded to it on June 19, 2019, and likewise failed to
respond to all but one or two of his six requests for
production[.]” Doc. #39 at 1. On August 13, 2019, Judge
Janet C. Hall referred Savalle's motion to compel to the
undersigned. [Doc. #40].
same date, the Court ordered that counsel for Main Street and
Savalle engage in a follow-up meet-and-confer conference,
either by telephone or in person. See Doc. #41. The
Court further ordered that: (1) Main Street and Savalle file
a joint status report by August 28, 2019, detailing which of
Savalle's discovery requests had been resolved by
agreement, and which remained outstanding for the Court's
adjudication; and (2) Main Street file a response to
Savalle's motion by August 30, 2019. See Id. The
Court scheduled a telephonic discovery conference for
September 6, 2019, to address any issues that had not been
resolved by agreement of the parties. See id.;
see also Doc. #44.
August 28, 2019, Main Street and Savalle timely filed their
joint status report. [Doc. #46]. Main Street and Savalle
reported that they had successfully resolved the disputes
surrounding Interrogatories 2, 3, 4, 6, and 7, as well as
Request for Production 11. See Id. at 1. Main Street
and Savalle were unable to reach an agreement with respect to
Interrogatory 5, and Requests for Production 12 and 13.
August 28, 2019, Main Street filed a motion to continue the
September 6, 2019, telephonic status conference, due to the
unavailability of its counsel. [Doc. #45]. In light of the
representation that Main Street's counsel was unavailable
for the status conference, and where only three discovery
requests remained for the Court's adjudication, the Court
canceled the September 6, 2019, telephonic discovery
conference and indicated that it would rule on the motion to
compel once Main Street responded to the motion. See
Doc. #47. Main Street timely filed its objection to the
motion to compel on August 30, 2019. [Doc. #50].
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). “[T]he burden of
demonstrating relevance remains on the party seeking
discovery.” Bagley v. Yale Univ., 315 F.R.D.
131, 144 (D. Conn. 2016) (citation omitted), as amended (June
15, 2016); Republic of Turkey v. Christie's,
Inc.,326 F.R.D. 394, 400 (S.D.N.Y. 2018) (same). Once
the party seeking discovery has demonstrated relevance, the
burden then shifts to “[t]he party resisting discovery
... [to] show why discovery should ...