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Villas Townhouse Association v. American Family Group

United States District Court, D. Colorado

April 24, 2014

THE VILLAS TOWNHOUSE ASSOCIATION a/k/a VILLAS WEST TOWNHOUSE ASSOCIATION (VTA), and JOHN DOE AND JANE DOE as intended beneficiaries, Plaintiff(s),
v.
AMERICAN FAMILY GROUP d/b/a AMERICAN FAMILY MUTUAL INSURANCE COMPANY, Defendant(s).

ORDER REGARDING DEFENDANT AMERICAN FAMILY MUTUAL INSURANCE COMPANY'S MOTION FOR PROTECTIVE ORDER REGARDING FED. R. CIV. P. 30(B)(6) DEPOSITION OF AMERICAN FAMILY (DOCKET NO. 72)

MICHAEL J. WATANABE, District Judge.

This matter is before the court on Defendant American Family Mutual Insurance Company's Motion for Protective Order Regarding Fed.R.Civ.P. 30(b)(6) Deposition of American Family (docket no. 72). The court has reviewed the subject motion (docket no. 72) and the response (docket no. 75). In addition, the court has taken judicial notice of the court's file and has considered applicable Federal Rules of Civil Procedure and case law. The court now being fully informed makes the following findings of fact, conclusions of law, and order.

FINDINGS OF FACT AND CONCLUSIONS OF LAW

The court finds:

1. That I have jurisdiction over the subject matter and over the parties to this lawsuit;
2. That venue is proper in the state and District of Colorado;
3. That each party has been given a fair and adequate opportunity to be heard;
4. That Defendant contends in the subject motion (docket no. 72) that a protective order should be issued by this court because Plaintiff's Fed.R.Civ.P. 30(b)(6) Notice and disputed Topics 1-15, inclusive, are so broad in scope as to provide Defendant with little to no meaningful guidance on what testimony is desired, so that Defendant is unable to determine appropriate designees for those disputed Topics, much less prepare witnesses for depositions. In addition, any reasonably thorough inquiry into the proposed disputed Topics would require not just numerous company representatives, but also days - not hours - to complete. Accordingly, Defendant argues that the Notice is per se unreasonable and overly burdensome under EEOC v. Vail Corp., 2008 WL 5104811, *1 (D. Colo. Dec. 3, 2008) (finding estimates that deposition testimony would span far more than the allotted seven hours "supports the contention that the proposed Rule 30(b)(6) deposition is both unduly broad and burdensome" and granting protective order). Further, Defendant argues that the burden and expense to Defendant to produce a person knowledgeable on these disputed Topics greatly exceeds any benefit that could be derived therefrom, especially since the information may be sought through other means that would be far more convenient, less burdensome, and less expensive. Accordingly, Defendant requests that this court enter a protective order not allowing Plaintiff to inquire into Topics 1-15, inclusive, during the Rule 30(b)(6) deposition and not requiring Defendant to provide to Plaintiffs documents sought through the Plaintiff's Notice;
5. That Plaintiff contends that the disputed Topics 1-15, inclusive, of inquiry attached to their Fed.R.Civ.P. 30(b)(6) Notice are relevant to their statutory bad faith claim based on Defendant's violation of ยงยง10-3-1115 and 1116, C.R.S., and their common law bad faith claim based on Defendant's breach of the implied duty of good faith and fair dealing, and such disputed Topics are reasonably limited in scope and duration. Plaintiff further contends that the Notice and disputed Topics do not subject Defendant to an "impossible task" in terms of identifying the outer limits of the areas of inquiry noticed and designating a representative in compliance with the Notice. Accordingly, Plaintiff requests that this court deny Defendant's the subject motion (docket no. 72);
6. That as to Topic #1, the Defendant objects to Topic #1 as being overly broad, unduly burdensome, and seeks irrelevant information. Defendant further argues that Topic #1 seeks information not reasonably calculated to lead to the discovery of admissible evidence. I find Defendant's objections to Topic #1 are overruled. See Jeffryes v. Harford Life & Acc. Ins. Co. , 2006 WL 1186493 (D. Colo. May 4, 2006). Also, I find that Plaintiff has narrowed Topic #1 as outlined in Plaintiff's Response (docket no. 75) at page 7 to only those portions of the Policy that are at issue in this case, including sections on coverage, exclusions, and the terms and conditions for obtaining the Replacement Cost Value ("RCV") payment in the event of a hail loss;
7. That as to Topic #2, the Defendant objects to Topic #2 as being overly broad, unduly burdensome, and seeks irrelevant information. I find that Defendant's Objections to Topic #2 are overruled. Defendant has asserted a defense in this case that the sheathing is not covered as a result of the Policy's "wear and tear exclusion" because the sheathing was deteriorated prior to the Loss and was not directly damaged by hail. Further, Topic #2 is narrowly confined to the results of Defendant's inspection of the insured premises;
8. That as to Topic #3, the Defendant objects to Topic #3 as being overly broad in temporal scope, unduly burdensome, seeks confidential information, and is not stated with reasonable particularity. Defendant further argues that Topic #3 seeks irrelevant information and is vague and ambiguous. Lastly, Defendant argues that Topic #3 should be restricted to Defendant's handling policies and procedures that were effective during the relevant claims handling period which is from December 5, 2011, until the lawsuit was filed on June 25, 2013. I find that Defendant's Objections to Topic #3 are overruled, however, the time period should be limited to January 1, 2010, through December 31, 2012, inclusive. See Jeffryes, supra ;
9. That as to Topic #4, the Defendant objects to Topic #4 as being overly broad in temporal scope, unduly burdensome, seeks confidential information, and is not stated with reasonable particularity. Defendant further argues that Topic #4 seeks irrelevant information and is vague and ambiguous. Lastly, Defendant argues that Topic #4 should be restricted to Defendant's handling policies and procedures that were effective during the relevant claims handling period which is from December 5, 2011, until the lawsuit was filed on June 25, 2013. I find that Defendant's Objections to Topic #4 are overruled, however, the time period should be limited to January 1, 2010, through December 31, 2012, inclusive. See Jeffryes, supra ;
10. That as to Topic #5, the Defendant objects to Topic #5 as being overly broad in temporal scope, unduly burdensome, seeks confidential information, contains compound and multiple subparts, is not reasonably calculated to lead to the discovery of admissible evidence, and the information requested is not relevant to Plaintiff's claims, and Plaintiff cannot demonstrate a compelling need for this information. Defendant further argues that Topic #5 should be stricken in its entirety. I find Defendant's Objections to Topic #5 are overruled. The requested testimony in Topic #5 is relevant to the statutory and common law bad faith claims and are also relevant as to ...

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