Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

San Diego Unified Port District v. National Union Fire Insurance Company of Pittsburg

United States District Court, S.D. California

September 5, 2017

SAN DIEGO UNIFIED PORT DISTRICT, Plaintiff,
v.
NATIONAL UNION FIRE INSURANCE COMPANY OF PITTSBURG, PA, Defendant.

          ORDER ON JOINT MOTION FOR DETERMINATION OF DISCOVERY DISPUTE REGARDING INTERROGATORIES SET TWO [ECF NO. 54]

          HON. MITCHELL D. DEMBIN UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE

         Before this Court is the parties' Joint Motion for Determination of Discovery Dispute filed on August 9, 2017. (ECF No. 54). The Joint Motion presents Defendant's challenges to Plaintiff's responses to six interrogatories. In this case, Plaintiff seeks declaratory relief and damages for bad faith against Defendant. (ECF No. 14). In essence, the case presents a dispute in which Plaintiff challenges Defendant's determination that two insurance policies are exhausted and that an umbrella policy does not cover certain continuing obligations from a total of four exhausted policies. The manner in which Defendant determined to allocate payments such that two of the policies are exhausted is in issue as well as the extent to which the umbrella policy steps into the shoes of the underlying policies. It is against this backdrop that the discovery dispute must be decided.

         LEGAL STANDARD

         Rule 26(b)(1), Fed. R. Civ. P., provides that parties may obtain discovery of “any nonprivileged matter that is relevant to any party's claim or defense and proportional to the needs of the case . . . .” Fed.R.Civ.P. 26(b)(1) (emphasis added). The Rule also provides that “[i]nformation within the scope of discovery need not be admissible in evidence to be discoverable.” Id.

         Counsel for Defendant, the venerable Lewis Brisbois Bisgaard & Smith, LLP appears unaware that the Federal of Rules of Civil Procedure, especially Rule 26(b)(1), were amended effective December 1, 2015. With more than 1100 lawyers in 41 offices in the United States, the firm should have received news of the amendments by now. But, twice in the instant Motion, Defendant misstates the Rule by referring to an earlier version. First, at page 2 of its Introductory Statement, Defendant states:

Furthermore, the right to discovery is very broad, and encompasses any information or documents that are “reasonably calculated to lead to the discovery of admissible evidence.” Rule 26(b)(1).

(ECF No. 54 at 2). Defendant repeats the error at pages 5-6 in presenting its view that Plaintiff's response to Interrogatory 20 is insufficient, stating:

Under the FRCP, the parties may obtain discovery regarding any matter that is (1) ‘not privileged' and (2) ‘relevant to the subject matter involved in the pending action.' FRCP 26(b)(1). . . . Furthermore, ‘[t]he information sought need not be admissible at the trial if the information sought appears reasonably calculated to lead to the discovery of admissible evidence.' Id.

(ECF No. 54 at 5-6).

         Defendant also relies upon Oppenheimer Fund, Inc. v. Sanders, 427 U.S. 340, 351 (1978), in which the Supreme Court determined that discovery could be obtained of information “bear[ing] on, or that reasonably could lead to other matters that could bear on, any issue that is or may be in the case.” In light of the 2015 amendments to Rule 26(b)(1), the Oppenheimer Fund definition, like the version of Rule 26(b)(1) that preceded the amendments, is now relegated only to historical significance. The instant discovery requests having been served in July 2017, the Court will apply the current version of the Federal Rules to this dispute.

         “An interrogatory may relate to any matter that may be inquired into under Rule 26(b).” Fed.R.Civ.P. 33(a)(2). “An interrogatory is not objectionable merely because it asks for an opinion or contention that relates to fact or the application of law to fact.” Id. The responding party must answer each interrogatory by stating the appropriate objection(s) with specificity or by “answer[ing] separately and fully in writing under oath.” Rule 33(b). The responding party has the option in certain circumstances to answer an interrogatory by specifying responsive records and making those records available to the interrogating party. Rule 33(d).

         DISCUSSION

         1. Interrogatory No. 20 (ECF 54 at 3-4)

         This is a “contention” interrogatory. Defendant asks Plaintiff to “[s]tate all facts that you contend support, evidence, or establish your contention that the policy limits of [3 ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.