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Main Street America Assurance Co. v. Savalle

United States District Court, D. Connecticut

November 15, 2019

MAIN STREET AMERICA ASSURANCE COMPANY
v.
VINCENT SAVALLE and LEE WINAKOR

          RULING ON DEFENDANT SAVALLE'S MOTION FOR RECONSIDERATION [Doc. #72]

          HON. SARAH A. L. MERRIAM UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE

         Pending before the Court is a motion [Doc. #72] by defendant Vincent Savalle (“Savalle”) seeking reconsideration of the Court's November 5, 2019, Ruling denying Savalle's renewed motion to quash a subpoena issued by plaintiff Main Street America Assurance Company (“Main Street”) to non-party Teri Davis. [Doc. #69]. For the reasons stated below, the Court GRANTS Savalle's motion for reconsideration [Doc. #72], and adheres to its prior Ruling.

         I. Background

         The Court presumes familiarity with the background of this matter which is set forth in the Ruling on Savalle's renewed motion to quash. See Doc. #69 at 1-3. However, the Court briefly addresses the background leading to the present motion for reconsideration.

         On September 4, 2019, Main Street noticed the issuance of a subpoena to non-party Teri Davis (“Davis”), commanding her to appear and testify at a deposition, and to produce the documents identified on Schedule A to the subpoena. See Doc. #63-1. Schedule A seeks:

Any and all documents, records, correspondence, memorandum, notes and/or logs regarding the insurance you obtained for or on behalf of Vincent Savalle from 2010 to the present; the work Vincent Savalle performed at 217 Ledgen Wood Road (now known as 24 Island Road) in North Stonington, Connecticut; the lawsuit captioned Lee Winakor v. Vincent Savalle, New London Superior Court, Civil Action No. KNL-CV15-6024218-S; or the instant litigation captioned Main Street America Assurance Co. v. Vincent Savalle, et al., including but not limited to correspondence between you, on the one side, and the following individuals/entities on the other side: Attorney James Lee, Attorney Frank Liberty, Charles G. Marcus Agency, Inc., Main Street America Assurance Company, and/or Karl Butzgy. You are further commanded to bring any notations, diaries, logs, notes, notations, records, memorandum regarding such communications and/or oral conversations or meetings with such individuals/entities.

Doc. #63-1 at 6 (sic). The subpoena noticed Davis' deposition for September 20, 2019, at 1:30PM. See Id. at 3.

         On September 13, 2019, Savalle filed a motion to quash the subpoena. [Doc. #54]. On September 16, 2019, Judge Janet C. Hall referred that motion to the undersigned. [Doc. #56]. On the same date, the Court denied Savalle's motion, without prejudice to re-filing, for failure to comply with the Local Rules. See Doc. #58. The Court ordered counsel for Savalle and counsel for Main Street to engage in a further meet-and-confer conference. See Id. To the extent that counsel were unable to resolve the dispute presented in Savalle's motion to quash, then Savalle was to re-file his motion by October 4, 2019. See Id. In accordance with that Order, Savalle timely re-filed the motion to quash on October 4, 2019. [Doc. #63]. Main Street filed an objection to Savalle's motion on October 10, 2019. [Doc. #67].

         Savalle moved to quash the subpoena served on Davis because it “expressly seeks communications protected by the attorney-client privilege.” Doc. #63 at 1. Main Street responded, inter alia, that Savalle “has failed to meet his burden to show that the information and documents sought... are protected by attorney-client privilege.” Doc. #67 at 1. Main Street also challenged the sufficiency of Savalle's privilege log. See Id. at 1-3. Although Savalle did provide a privilege log with the renewed motion to quash, he did not file any affidavits or other evidence supporting his claim of the attorney-client privilege.

         On November 5, 2019, the Court issued a Ruling denying Savalle's renewed motion to quash. [Doc. #69]. In pertinent part, the Court denied Savalle's motion because he “failed to sustain his burden of establishing the applicability of the attorney-client privilege.” Doc. #69 at 12. The Court also found that Savalle's privilege log “is deficient and also fails to support his assertion that the attorney-client privilege applies to the emails at issue.” Id. at 18.

         In seeking reconsideration of the Court's Ruling, Savalle contends that the Court overlooked controlling precedent, namely the Connecticut Supreme Court case of Woodbury Knoll, LLC v. Shipman and Goodwin, LLP, 48 A.3d 16 (Conn. 2012) (hereinafter “Woodbury”). The Court considers Savalle's arguments below.

         II. Legal Standard

         The legal standards applicable to a motion for reconsideration are well-established:

A motion for reconsideration is an extraordinary request that is granted only in rare circumstances, such as where the court failed to consider evidence or binding authority. “The standard for granting such a motion is strict, and reconsideration will generally be denied unless the moving party can point to controlling decisions or data that the court overlooked - matters, in other words, that might reasonably be expected to alter ...

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