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.

AOH Occupational Health LLC v. State Farm Fire And Casualty Co.

United States District Court, D. South Carolina, Charleston Division

September 15, 2017

AOH OCCUPATIONAL HEALTH LLC, and KEN JONES, M.D., Plaintiffs,
v.
STATE FARM MUTUAL AUTOMOBILE INSURANCE COMPANY, Defendant.

          ORDER

          DAVID C. NORTON, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.

         The following matter is before the court on defendant State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Company's (“State Farm”) motion to compel. ECF No. 12. For the reasons set forth below, the court grants State Farm's motion to compel.

         I. BACKGROUND

         The instant action arises out of an insurance dispute between plaintiffs AOH Occupational Health LLC (“AOH”) and Ken Jones, M.D. (“Dr. Jones, ” together with AOH, “plaintiffs”), and State Farm. On September 28, 2012, Dr. Jones allegedly performed an unauthorized examination on patient Gerald F. Davis (“Davis”). Compl. ¶¶ 5-7. Davis filed suit against AOH and Dr. Jones in the Court of Common Pleas for Charleston County, bringing claims for assault and battery, intentional infliction of emotional distress, vicarious liability, and failure to supervise (the “Underlying Action”). Underlying Compl. ¶¶ 18-32. At the time of the alleged incident, plaintiffs held an insurance policy with State Farm, which they believe provides coverage for defense and indemnification in the Underlying Action. Compl. ¶¶ 6, 7. However, State Farm refused to defend or indemnify plaintiffs in the Underlying Action. Id. ¶ 8. On May 11, 2016, plaintiffs filed the instant action in the Court of Common Pleas for Charleston County, bringing claims for breach of contract, bad faith refusal of benefits, and declaratory judgment. Id. ¶¶ 9-18.

         Objector South Carolina Medical Malpractice Liability Insurance Joint Underwriting Association (“JUA”) also provided plaintiffs with liability coverage at the time of the incident alleged in the Underlying Action. Def.'s First Mot. 2-3. JUA initially provided plaintiffs with a defense in the Underlying Action, but later withdrew coverage after the state court ruled that the claims sounded in assault and battery, not medical malpractice. Id.

         Relevant to this action, State Farm served a subpoena against JUA seeking production of: (1) the plaintiffs' policy with JUA, (2) correspondence between JUA and either plaintiffs or plaintiffs' attorney in the Underlying Action, John Blincow (“Blincow”), (3) all notes or documents in JUA's claim file concerning JUA's liability coverage in the Underlying Action, and (4) all bills for attorney's fees and other records of payment associated with the Underlying Action. Def.'s Mot. Ex. A, Subpoena. JUA's counsel responded with a letter outlining JUA's objections to the subpoena. Def.'s Mot. Ex. B, Objections to Subpoena. JUA did not produce any documents or provide any privilege log in its response.

         State Farm filed a motion to compel on November 4, 2016, seeking to compel JUA's compliance with the subpoena. ECF No. 12. JUA responded to this motion on November 21, 2016, ECF No. 14, and State Farm filed a reply on November 23, 2016. ECF No. 17. The motion is now ripe for the court's review.

         II. STANDARDS

         A. Rule 26

         The Federal Rules of Civil Procedure provide that a party “may obtain discovery regarding 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). “Information within this scope of discovery need not be admissible in evidence to be discoverable.” Id. “The court may, for good cause, issue an order to protect a party or person from annoyance, embarrassment, oppression, or undue burden or expense.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 26(c)(1). “The scope and conduct of discovery are within the sound discretion of the district court.” Columbus-Am. Discovery Grp. v. Atl. Mut. Ins. Co., 56 F.3d 556, 568 n.16 (4th Cir. 1995) (citing Erdmann v. Preferred Research, Inc. of Ga., 852 F.2d 788, 792 (4th Cir. 1988)).

         B. Rule 45

         Under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 45, a party may serve a subpoena for the production of discoverable material on a nonparty to the litigation, and the nonparty may contest the subpoena in turn. The scope of discovery for subpoena duces tecum issued pursuant to Rule 45 is the same as the scope of a discovery under Rule 26. Castle v. Jallah, 142 F.R.D. 618, 620 (E.D. Va. 1992). “[T]he burden of proof is with the party objecting to the discovery to establish that the challenged production should not be permitted.” HDSherer LLC v. Nat. Molecular Testing Corp., 292 F.R.D. 305, 308 (D.S.C. 2013). A nonparty who seeks to withhold subpoenaed information on the basis of any privilege must (1) expressly assert the claimed privileged and (2) describe the nature of the withheld information “in a manner that, without revealing information itself privileged or protected, will enable the parties to assess the claim.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 45(e)(2)(A).

         III. DISCUSSION

         State Farm moves to compel JUA's compliance with the subpoena for information regarding JUA's coverage obligations in the Underlying Action. JUA objects to State Farms requests on the grounds that (1) the information sought is irrelevant, and (2) any correspondence between JUA and Blincow, or billing records with respect to Blincow's representation of the AOH and Dr. Jones in ...


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.