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Hover v. State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Co.

United States District Court, E.D. Washington

August 26, 2014

DAWN HOVER, Plaintiff,
v.
STATE FARM MUTUAL AUTOMOBILE INSURANCE COMPANY, Defendant.

ORDER DENYING DEFENDANT'S MOTION FOR PROTECTIVE ORDER AND GRANTING PLAINTIFF'S MOTION TO COMPEL

SALVADOR MENDOZA, Jr., District Judge.

Before the Court, without oral argument, is Defendant State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Company's ("State Farm") Motion for Protective Order Against Plaintiff's Second Requests for Production, ECF No. 22, and Plaintiff Dawn Hover's related Cross-Motion to Compel, ECF No. 29. Defendant asks this Court for a protective order forbidding disclosures to Plaintiff's Interrogatory No. 20 and Request for Production No. 21. See ECF No. 22 at 1. In response, Plaintiff asks this Court to deny Defendant's motion and to grant her cross-motion to compel Defendant to respond to the requests. See ECF No. 29 at 1-2. Having reviewed the pleadings and the file in this matter, the Court is fully informed and denies Defendant's Motion for Protective Order and grants Plaintiff's related Cross-Motion to Compel.

I. BACKGROUND

A. Factual and procedural background

Plaintiff made an underinsured motorist claim ("UIM") for injuries and damages sustained in a November 2010 automobile accident. ECF No. 22 at 1; ECF No. 29 at 2. According to Plaintiff, she has suffered special damages in the amount of $998, 109 as a result of this accident, which is well above the amount she received from Allstate, the insurer of the at-fault motorist.[1]ECF No. 1-2 at 4. Plaintiff filed this lawsuit against Defendant State Farm, her own insurer, in connection with this claim. ECF No. 1-2. Defendant removed the suit from state court. ECF No. 1.

In her complaint, Plaintiff alleges that Defendant has (1) breached its duties under the Insurance Fair Conduct Act, RCW 48.30.010; (2) breached its fiduciary duty as set forth in the Wash. Admin. Code 284-30 et seq.; (3) breached terms of its contract with Plaintiff; (4) violated the Consumer Protection Act, RCW 19.86 et seq.; and (5) breached its duty to act in good faith. ECF No. 1-2 at 6-7. Defendant answered the complaint, raising (1) failure to state a claim; (2) discharge of contractual obligation; (3) that its acts and practices were reasonable; and (5) that Plaintiff failed to comply with terms and condition of the policy as affirmative defenses.

The parties are currently in the midst of discovery. Pursuant to a Stipulation Regarding the Production of Confidential and Trade Secret Information ("Stipulation"), Defendant can designate certain responsive documents as "Confidential" or "Trade Secret, " which prevents Plaintiff from disclosing these protected documents unless expressly permitted by agreement or court order. ECF No. 11 at 5. The Stipulation also obligates the parties to file a motion or stipulation to seal if either wishes to file a protected document with the Court. Id. Despite the Stipulation, the parties have been unable to reach agreement on some discovery matters.

B. Discovery dispute background

On February 18, 2014, Plaintiff served her First Set of Interrogatories and Requests for Production on Defendant. See ECF No. 25-1 at 29. Defendant responded to these discovery requests but objected to Interrogatory No. 20 and Request for Production No. 21, among others. ECF No. 25-2 at 25-30. In full, Interrogatory No. 20 asked that Defendant,

With regard to each employee of defendant State Farm who adjusted, reviewed, advised, consulted, investigated, made an entry in the claims diary or claims file, or did any work whatsoever regarding the claim made by Plaintiff Dawn Hover, state:
a. The person's position and role in the claim
b. The inclusive dates on which the person worked on the claim, the specific work performed, and the reason for action taken on the case;
c. State the reason for each transfer of any and all parts and/or portions of Plaintiff Dawn Hover's claim to, form, and amongst the ...

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