United States District Court, D. Connecticut
RULING ON PLAINTIFF'S MOTION TO COMPEL (DOC. NO.
69), PLAINTIFF'S MOTION TO DETERMINE SUFFICIENCY OF
RESPONSES TO REQUESTS FOR ADMISSIONS (DOC. NO. 70) AND
DEFENDANTS' CROSS MOTION FOR PROTECTIVE ORDER (DOC. NO.
M. SPECTOR UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
with the procedural history of this case, as detailed in this
Court's Recommended Ruling on the Plaintiff's Motion
for Judgment Upon Settlement, is presumed. (Doc. No. 63; see
Doc. No. 64 (order approving and adopting recommended
ruling)). On May 31, 2019, the Court (Eginton, J.) referred
this case to the undersigned for discovery. (Doc. No. 68). On
October 9, 2019, this case was transferred to the United
States District Judge Janet C. Hall. (Doc. No. 72).
September 9, 2019, the plaintiff filed the pending Motion to
Compel (Doc. No. 69), with brief (Doc. No. 69-4), affidavits
(Doc. Nos. 69-3 & 69-5), and copies of the
Defendants' Supplemental Responses to Plaintiff's
Document Requests (Doc. Nos. 69-1) and the Defendants'
Supplemental Responses to Plaintiff's First Set of
Interrogatories (Doc. No. 69-2) attached. On the same day,
the plaintiff filed the pending Motion to Determine the
Sufficiency of Defendants' Responses to Request for
Admissions (Doc. No. 70), with brief (Doc. No. 70-3),
affidavits (Doc. Nos. 70-2 & 70-4), and exhibit in
support. (Doc. No. 70-1). On September 30, 2019, the
defendants filed a joint brief in opposition to both motions,
and a Cross Motion for Protective Order (Doc. No. 71), and on
October 10, 2019, the plaintiff filed reply briefs. (Doc.
reasons stated below, the plaintiff's Motion to Compel
(Doc. No. 69) is GRANTED IN PART AND DENIED IN PART AS MOOT,
the plaintiff's Motion to Determine Sufficiency of
Defendants' Responses to Requests for Admissions (Doc.
No. 70) is GRANTED IN PART AND DENIED IN PART, and the
defendants' Cross Motion for Protective Order (Doc. No.
71) is GRANTED IN PART AND DENIED IN PART.
MOTION TO COMPEL
may “obtain discovery regarding any nonprivileged
matter that is relevant to any party's claim or defense
and is proportional to the needs of the case[.]”
Fed.R.Civ.P. 26(b)(1). The proportionality determination
limits the scope of discovery by “considering the
importance of the issues at stake[, ]” the
“amount in controversy, the parties' relative
access to relevant information, the parties' resources,
the importance of discovery in resolving the issues, and
whether the burden or expense . . . outweighs the likely
benefit” of the discovery sought. Fed.R.Civ.P.
underlying motion to compel addresses discovery that was
served over a year ago. Specifically, in the Motion to
Compel, the plaintiff seeks a court order regarding the
defendants' supplemental responses that the defendants
served on June 25, 2018 (Doc. Nos. 69-1 & 69-2; see also
Doc. No. 69-3 (emails from counsel, most recent of which are
dated June 13, 2018)). In the absence of a discovery
deadline, discovery has languished. Discovery shall close upon
the completion of production in accordance with this ruling.
DOCUMENT REQUEST NOS. 1-2
Document Request No. 1, the plaintiff seeks: “All
documents and communications concerning the plaintiff during
and after 2016[, ]” and, in Document Request No. 2, the
plaintiff seeks: “A copy by category and location of
all documents, of electronically stored information and
tangible things that you have in your possession, custody or
control that you may use to support your claims and defenses
in this matter.” (Doc. No. 69-1 at 1-2). On September
27, 2019, the defendants provided the plaintiff with their
Second Supplemental Responses in which they indicated that no
documents were being withheld. (Doc. No. 71-1 at 10-11).
Accordingly, the plaintiff's Motion as to these requests
DOCUMENT REQUEST NO.
this document request, the plaintiff seeks:
Any insurance agreement under which an insurance business may
be liable to satisfy all or part of a possible judgment in
this action or to indemnify or reimburse for payments made to
satisfy the judgment, irrespective of your belief as to the
coverage of the agreement.
the defendants have withdrawn their “overly broad and
unduly burdensome” objections, the defendants argue
that this information is irrelevant. (Doc. No. 71 at 6-7).
(a)(1)(A)(iv) requires the disclosure of an insurance
agreement under which “an insurance business may be
liable to satisfy part or all of a possible judgment in the
action or to indemnify or reimburse for payments made to
satisfy the judgment.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 26(a)(1)(A)(iv).
The defendants assert that they have not made a claim for
insurance coverage, nor is there a “possibility that an
insurance policy is relevant to a claim or defense of any
party.” (Doc. No. 71 at 7).
case law is clear that, “in light of the mandatory
language of Rule 26(a)(1)(A)(iv), when a defense attorney
asserts that the claims at issue fall within an exclusion in
a defendant's insurance policy, a ‘plaintiff is not
limited to counsel's say-so in making this
determination.'” Pape v. Law Offices of Frank
N. Peluso, P.C., No. 3:13 CV 63 (JGM), 2015 WL 5842474,
at *2 (D. Conn. Oct. 7, 2015) (quoting Calabro v.
Stone, 224 F.R.D. 532, 533 (E.D.N.Y. 2004)). The
defendants' unilateral assertion that the insurance
coverage is irrelevant does not suffice. In the absence of
identifying “a specific prejudice which would arise
from the disclosure of their existing policies[, ]” the
defendants must produce the insurance documents responsive to
this request. Tzanetis v. Weinstein & Riley,
P.S., Civ. No. 3:09 CV 413 (WWE)(HBF), 2009 WL 5128892,
at *1 (D. Conn. Dec. 18, 2009), aff'd, No. 3:09 CV 413
(DJS), 2010 WL 11431864 (D. Conn. Jan. 8, 2010). The
defendants shall produce responsive documents within fourteen
(14) days of the filing of this order. D. Conn. L. Civ. R.
DOCUMENT REQUEST NO. 4
Document Request No. 4, the plaintiff seeks the
“retainer agreement referred to in paragraph 8 of your
fee application in the state court case against Ms.
Ceraldi.” In their Second Supplemental Response, the
defendants responded that “no responsive documents
exist.” (Doc. No. 71 at 7). Accordingly, the
plaintiff's Motion as to this request is moot.
DOCUMENT REQUEST NOS. 6 AND 7
these requests, the plaintiff seeks “accounting records
for plaintiff's judgment account” and an
“electronic spreadsheet for plaintiff's account in
its native format.” On September 27, 2019, the
defendants provided an updated spreadsheet to the plaintiff
(Doc. No. 71 at 8); accordingly, the plaintiff's motion
as to these two requests is moot.
DOCUMENT REQUEST NO. 8
Document Request No. 8, the plaintiff seeks: “A copy of
all plaintiff's checks and deposit slips therefor.”
The defendants stand by their objection that this request is
unduly burdensome and irrelevant as there are approximately
438 payments made by the plaintiff in this matter, and it
would be costly for the defendants to secure copies when the
plaintiff may retrieve these documents from her own financial
institution. (Doc. No. 71 at 8-9). In response to Document
Request No. 7, the defendants produced a spreadsheet
reflecting the payments made by the plaintiff. The plaintiff
argues that a comparison of the dates on the checks and
deposit slips with the spreadsheet already produced is
expected to confirm the defendants' miscalculation of the
payments. (Doc. No. 73 at 3-4).
defendants' relevancy objection cannot stand. Although
there are hundreds of payments made by the plaintiff, the
relevance of the defendants' receipt of these payments,
and the calculation thereof, outweighs the burden on the
defendants of producing their copies of the checks and
deposit slips. Accordingly, the plaintiff's motion to
compel as to this request is granted. The defendants shall
respond to the Request as written within fourteen (14) days