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Amco Insurance Co. v. Abby Farms

February 4, 2010

AMCO INSURANCE COMPANY, A CORPORATION, PLAINTIFF,
v.
ABBY FARMS, INC., DBA MERCADO DEL VALLE, A CALIFORNIA CORPORATION, DEFENDANT.
ABBY FARM INC., DBA MERCADO DEL VALLE, A CALIFORNIA CORPORATION, COUNTERCLAIMANT,
v.
AMCO INSURANCE COMPANY, A CORPORATION, DOES 1-20, COUNTERDEFENDANT.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Gary S. Austin United States Magistrate Judge

ORDER GRANTING MOTION TO COMPEL (Document 34)

I. INTRODUCTION

On January 5, 2010, Plaintiff and Counterdefendant, Amco Insurance Company, (hereinafter "Amco" or "Plaintiff") filed a Motion to Compel based on Defendant and Counterclaimant, Abby Farm's Inc., (hereinafter, "Abby Farms" or "Defendant") lack of compliance with discovery requests including Abby Farm's failure to respond to Special Interrogatories, and a Request for Production of Documents. The motion also requests monetary sanctions. Plaintiff did not file an opposition to the motion. On February 3, 2010, Amco filed notice that they had not received an opposition to the motion. (Doc. 36).

The matter was set for hearing on February 5, 2010 at 9:30 am. Based on a review of the pleadings, the Court determined that the matter was suitable for decision without oral argument pursuant to Local Rule 230(g). Upon consideration of the pleadings, Amco's Motion to Compel is GRANTED.

II. RELEVANT PROCEDURAL HISTORY

The present action arises out of a claim for insurance benefits stemming from a fire which occurred at the business of Abby Farms. Amco issued a Premier Businessowners policy to Abby Farms. On April 10, 2007, a fire caused substantial damage to Abby Farm's grocery store. Abby Farms submitted a claim to Amco for $325,000 for loss of income/profit and loss of business and personal property. Amco contends that the claim was grossly inflated and that Abby Farm's management and employees set the fire. Amco filed the instant action requesting declaratory relief on November 4, 2008. (Doc. 1).*fn1 Abby Farms filed an answer and counterclaim on June 22, 2009. (Doc. 24).

On July 6, 2009, this Court issued a scheduling order requiring the parties exchange initial disclosures on July 15, 2009. (Doc. 28). The Court also set the non-expert discovery deadline for January 29, 2010. Pursuant to the parties' stipulation, this Court extended the deadline for Amco to serve its initial disclosures until July 25, 2009. (Doc. 29). However, the non-expert discovery deadline was not altered. Plaintiff filed the instant Motion to Compel on January 15, 2010, so the motion is timely filed.

III. THE MOTION TO COMPEL

A. The Requested Discovery

Acmo contends that it served Abby Farm's counsel with its Rule 26 initial disclosures on June 26, 2009. Declaration of Dana Denno, Esq. ("Denno Decl.) dated January 5, 2010 at pg. 2. On July 15, 2009, Amco stipulated to extend the deadline for Abby Farm's Rule 26 disclosures until July 25, 2009. Id. However, the initial disclosures were not received. Id. Amco's counsel contacted Abby's Farm's counsel twice in August inquiring about the status of the disclosures but received no response. Id.

On August 14, 2009, Amco propounded numerous discovery requests including: 1) Plaintiff's Special Interrogatories, Set One, 2) Counterdefendant's Special Interrogatories, Set One, and 3) Plaintiff's request for Production of Documents. Id. The responses to the discovery were due on September 17, 2009. Id. Amco received a call from Abby Farm's counsel on September 16, 2009, requesting an extension of time to respond to the requests until October 1, 2009. Amco agreed to the extension. Id.

On September 16, 2009, Abby Farms provided unverified responses to Amco's request for admissions. Id. Having received no other responses, Amco wrote Abby Farm's counsel a letter on October 29, 2009, again attempting to obtain compliance with the discovery requests. Id. On November 2, 2009, Amco received Abby Farm's initial disclosures but none of the documents identified therein were provided, nor have they been provided. Id.

Similarly, on November 3, 2009, Amco received Abby Farm's responses to Special Interrogatories, Set One, as well as an e-mail indicating the Request for Production of Documents would be completed the next day. Denno Decl. at pg. 3. When Amco did not receive the materials as promised, it sent another e-mail to Abby Farm's counsel who indicated that the responses would be sent shortly. Id. To date, Amco has not received any additional responses from Abby ...


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