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Steiner v. Hartford Life and Accident Insurance

June 4, 2004

PAULA STEINER, PLAINTIFF,
v.
HARTFORD LIFE AND ACCIDENT INSURANCE, ET AL., DEFENDANTS.



E FILING ORDER DENYING PLAINTIFF'S MOTION TO COMPEL ADDITIONAL DISCOVERY Docket # 24

Before the Court is Plaintiff's Motion to Compel Additional Discovery. Attorney for Plaintiff is Michael S. Henderson, TEAL & MONTGOMERY. Attorney for Defendants is David J. Weinman, GALTON & HELM, LLP. Both attorneys requested telephonic appearances. This Court considered the moving and opposing papers and found the matter suitable for submission without oral argument. The matter having been fully considered and good cause appearing, it is hereby ordered that the motion is denied.

Factual and Procedural Background

All discovery in this case has been referred by the district court (Hon. Martin J. Jenkins) as provided by 28 U.S.C. §636(b). The motion was submitted without oral argument as provided by Civil Local Rule 7-6.

Plaintiff Paula Steiner filed a long-term disability ("LTD") claim for back pain under her group disability insurance plan at work. Defendant Hartford paid benefits on the claim.

After surveillance and a review by an independent medical examiner, Hartford discontinued benefit payments. Steiner filed an administrative appeal. Hartford retained another independent medical evaluator to analyze the medical records and upheld its decision.

On July 8, 2003, Steiner filed her complaint in this court, against her employer, Old Republic Title Co. In Santa Rosa, Group LTD Plan (the disability plan for Old Republic employees), and Hartford Insurance, as the plan administrator. Hartford is a corporation incorporated and having its principal place of business in Connecticut. This Court has original jurisdiction under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act ("ERISA"), 29 U.S.C. §1001 et seq.

At paragraph 18 of her complaint, Steiner alleges: "Defendants have wrongfully, arbitrarily and capriciously terminated Steiner's LTD benefits. Defendants' decision is without legal or factual justification, and is a breach of defendants' fiduciary obligations under the Plan. By refusing to pay Steiner's LTD benefits to which she is entitled under the Plan, defendants have violated their responsibilities and obligations under the plan. Steiner asks the court to award her past, present and future benefits under the Plan, pre and post-judgment interest, consequential damages recoverable under ERISA and attorney's fees and costs."

Defendants answered, contending that they had paid Steiner benefits, reviewed her claim and properly discontinued paying benefits because she was no longer disabled.

Steiner served discovery on Defendants seeking:

1. Each employee/consultant's curriculum vitae;

2. All contracts or agreements between Hartford and each employee/consultant;

3. Information concerning the amount of business Hartford conducted with these employees/consultants during the period 1997 to the present;

4. All compensation paid to these employees/consultants by Hartford for their work on Steiner's case, and at any time from 1997 to the present.

In addition, Steiner asked Hartford to produce documents addressing its claims handling practices with respect ...


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