United States District Court, S.D. Georgia, Statesboro Division
June 24, 2015
FRANCES ROBBINS, Plaintiff,
OWNERS INSURANCE COMPANY, Defendant.
G.R. SMITH, Magistrate Judge.
Before the Court in this insurance coverage dispute is plaintiff Frances Robbins' motion to compel her homeowners insurance company to produce, inter alia, its claims-adjustment based documentation. Doc. 41. Briefly, she sued Owners Insurance Company (OIC) because, she alleged, it breached its policy contract by failing to pay her vandalism and fire loss claims on her Statesboro, Georgia home. Doe. 13; see also doe. 56 at 1. OIC denies this, doe. 27 at 3, and opposes much of her written discovery. Doe. 43. Plaintiff's motion, it contends, has failed to comply with S.D. Ga. Loc. R. 26.5's presentation and duty-to-confer requirements. Doc. 43. Also, she seeks work product if not also privileged documents (OIC has generated a "privilege log"). Robbins has failed to show, OIC further contends, "substantial need" for the work product documents that she seeks. Finally, much of what she wants falls outside of Fed.R.Civ.P. 26's otherwise-broad definition of relevancy. Id.
OIC couples its response with an in-brief (as opposed to separate motion) request for a protective order "for all of the documents identified in [OIC's] privilege log and those documents demanded by [p]laintiff in her Motion." Doc. 43 at 23. Finally, it seeks "reasonable attorney's fees and costs in opposing [the m]otion and to deter [pilaintiff's counsel from engaging in similar frivolous, vexatious, and harassing behavior in the future. See Fed. R. Civ. Pro. 37(a)(5)(B)." Id. at 24.
OIC also moves for complete summary judgment against the plaintiff. Doc. 49. There it contends, inter alia, that the policy's coverage was not triggered by the fire loss because she was not residing in the home when it was burned. Doc. 49-1 at 6-15. Also, Robbins cannot support her damages claim. Id. at 15-23. Nor, finally, can plaintiff establish the legal elements to support her bad-faith claim against OIC. Id. at 23-25. Robbins opposes. Doc. 56.
The summary-judgment motion is before the district judge, while the motion to compel is before the undersigned. A review of the summary judgment briefs reveals that this discovery dispute may well be mooted should OIC prevail on summary judgment. For that matter, Robbins did not cite the need for this discovery, much less Fed.R.Civ.P. 56 (d) ("When Facts Are Unavailable to the Nonmovant"), in contesting OIC's summary judgment motion. See doc. 56.
Plaintiff Frances Robbins' motion to compel (doc. 41) is therefore DENIED without prejudice to renew it after the district judge rules on OIC's summary judgment motion. At that time, however, she must comply with the rules. See supra n. 1 & 2. Likewise, the defendant can then renew its protective order and Rule 37 fee request - in a motion.