United States District Court, D. South Carolina, Charleston Division
CHERYL BALL, individually and on behalf of the ESTATE OF JAMES MICHAEL BALL, Plaintiff,
USAA LIFE INSURANCE COMPANY, Defendant.
C. NORTON, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
following matters are before the court on defendant USAA Life
Insurance Company's (“USAA”) motion for a
protective order, ECF No. 46, and plaintiff Cheryl Ball's
(“plaintiff”) motion to compel, ECF No. 49. For
the reasons set forth below, the court grants USAA's
motion for a protective order and denies plaintiff's
motion to compel.
alleges that her husband, James Michael Ball
(“Ball”), served in the Army for 27 years prior
to retiring from active duty. Compl. ¶ 4. Ball applied
for life insurance with USAA on April 17, 2012 and obtained
two life insurance policies on May 20, 2012. Id.
¶ 5. On December 13, 2013, Ball was killed in a hit and
run motor vehicle accident, and the cause of death was listed
as blunt force injuries to the head after being ejected from
a motorcycle. Id. ¶ 6. After Ball's death,
plaintiff submitted a claim for life insurance benefits.
Id. ¶ 7. Plaintiff alleges that USAA denied her
claim on November 24, 2014. Id. Plaintiff filed her
complaint on October 27, 2015 in the Court of Common Pleas
for Dorchester County, bringing the following causes of
action: (1) breach of contract; (2) insurance bad faith; and
(3) attorney's fees pursuant to South Carolina Code
§ 38-59-40. USAA filed a notice of removal on January 7,
this litigation, plaintiff has attempted to discover certain
statistical information regarding USAA's treatment of
other policies. On May 16, 2016, the court granted in part
plaintiff's motion to compel responses to interrogatories
the total number of life insurance policies that were issued
by USAA Life Insurance Company for the calendar years 2004
through 2014. . . . the total number of life insurance
benefit claims that were filed with USAA Life Insurance
Company for the calendar years 2004 through 2014. . . . the
total number of claims for benefits made on policies that
were within the first two years of the date of the
policies' issue that were contested or denied by USAA. .
. . [the total number of claims in the calendar years
2004-2014 that] USAA denied or contested, in whole or part,
on the basis that an insured made a misrepresentation on
their application with regard to PTSD, Depression or any
other alleged disorder of the nervous system. . . . [and the
total number of claims in the calendar years 2004-2014 that]
USAA denied or contested, in whole or part, on the basis that
an insured made a misrepresentation of their application with
regard to receiving a prescription for an anti-depressant or
suffering from an alleged mental illness.
ECF No. 24 at 3-4. The court granted plaintiff's motion
to compel, but limited the temporal scope of the requests to
the five years prior to the action, and limited certain
requests to claims from South Carolina. Id. at 4.
eventually took the depositions of eleven USAA employees.
Because plaintiff withdrew her initial 30(b)(6) notice, none
of these witnesses were deposed in a 30(b)(6) capacity. Peter
Morris (“Morris”), a principal underwriter who
participated in the claims investigation for this case,
testified about the total number of applications USAA
processed every year-one of the subjects addressed by the
interrogatories outlined above. Morris's answer was
apparently inconsistent with the answer USAA provided in
response to the interrogatory. ECF No. 47 at 2. USAA's
underwriter, Tamara Schmeling (“Schmeling”) also
provided deposition testimony that she reviews somewhere
between 2, 600 to 7, 800 applications per year. Id.
has now renewed her efforts to discover statistical
information regarding USAA's treatment of other claims.
On February 2, 2017, plaintiff filed a second set of
interrogatories, and on February 10, 2017, plaintiff filed a
third set of interrogatories. Defendants have objected to the
following requests from plaintiff's second set of
1. Provide the total amount of premiums revenue collected by
USAA Life Insurance Company from 2009 to 2014.
2. Provide the total number of life insurance claims from
2009 to 2014 that were paid to an insured's family and/or
beneficiary after having been denied within the two-year
3. Provide the total number of life insurance policies issued
by USAA Life Insurance from 2009 to 2014 where the accepted
applicant (insured) has listed any of the following
conditions on his or her application:
b. Sleep apnea
c. PTSD (Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder)
d. TBI (Traumatic Brain Injury)
ECF No. 49 at 2-4. Defendant has also objected to the
following requests from plaintiff's third set of
1. Provide the total number of life insurance applications
processed/received by the Defendant from 2009 to 2014.
2. Provide the total number of life insurance applications
that were denied and/or not issued by Defendant ...