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State Farm Mut. Auto. Ins. Co. v. Stavropolskiy

United States District Court, E.D. Pennsylvania

April 24, 2017

STATE FARM MUT. AUTO. INS. CO., ET AL., Plaintiffs,
v.
LEONARD STAVROPOLSKIY, ET AL., Defendants. EASTERN APPROACH REHABILITATION, LLC, ET AL., Plaintiffs,
v.
STATE FARM MUT. AUTO. INS. CO., ET AL., Defendants.

MEMORANDUM

          JOYNER, J.

         Joyner, J. April 24, 2017 Before this Court are motions to compel discovery filed by both parties, together with their responses and replies. For the reasons set forth, each motion will be granted in part and denied in part.

         Standard

         Under the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, district courts have broad discretion to manage discovery. Sempier v. Johnson & Higgins, 45 F.3d 724, 734 (3d Cir. 1995). Discovery need not be confined to matters of admissible evidence; it may encompass any “nonprivileged matter that is relevant to any party's claim or defense and proportional to the needs of the case, considering the importance of the issues at stake in the action, the amount in controversy, the parties' relative access to relevant information, the parties' resources, the importance of the discovery in resolving the issues, and whether the burden or expense of the proposed discovery outweighs its likely benefit.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 26(b)(1).

         Discussion[1]

         Dr. Leonard Stavropolskiy, Dr. Joseph Wang, Aquatic Therapy of Chinatown, and Eastern Approach Rehabilitation (collectively, the “Medical Parties”) and State Farm Fire and Casualty Company (collectively, “State Farm”) have served a series of interrogatories and document requests on each other. Both sides have answered certain requests, but have refused to respond to others in whole or in part. In their respective motions to compel, both parties argue that certain responses are incomplete or unresponsive. We review each request individually to determine whether, under the standard set out in the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, the documents requested or subpoenaed are discoverable.

         The Medical Parties' Motion to Compel (Doc. No. 46)

         The Medical Parties' requests to compel answers to interrogatories and production of documents are granted or denied as follows:

         (1) Interrogatory #1: “When did you first begin any investigation of Eastern Approach Rehabilitation, Aquatic Therapy of Chinatown, Dr. Leonard Stavropolskiy, and/or Dr. Joseph Wang?”

         In response to this request, State Farm asserted that it opened a multi-claim investigation project on or about November 15, 2013 and that it had “also engaged in investigation of the above referenced” Medical Parties prior to that date. State Farm's response cross-referenced its response to another interrogatory revealing that State Farm reviewed a claim or claims against the Medical Parties on or around September 19, 2011.

         The Medical Parties submit that a more specific answer is required. We agree and thus, we direct State Farm to state with specificity when it first began any investigation of the Medical Parties.

         (2) Interrogatory #5: “When and how did you first identify the fraud you allege in your lawsuit against the Eastern Approach entities?”

         In response to this request, State Farm stated that it made the determination sometime between September 8, 2014 and the date of the filing of the Complaint. State Farm protests that it cannot answer “down to a specific minute, hour, or day, ” (Doc. No. 48), because its determination was not an epiphany but rather occurred over time. State Farm maintains that the best it can do is to provide a time frame during which it is reasonably certain the identification of fraud was made, which it has done. We agree with State Farm that its response is sufficient as to when it first identified the alleged fraud.

         As to how it identified the alleged fraud, State Farm initially provided no response and now refers the Medical Parties and the Court to the evidence detailed in its amended complaint and a response to a later interrogatory regarding the reasons State Farm was unable to discover the alleged fraud earlier than October 30, 2011. These answers are not responsive to the Medical Parties' interrogatory. ...


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