COURT OF APPEALS HOLDS THAT INSURED’S DISCOVERY REQUESTS SEEKING INFORMATION ABOUT SIMILARLY-SITUATED THIRD-PARTY-INSUREDS WERE IMPROPER
Last week, the Court of Appeals of Texas, San Antonio, held that the insured’s discovery requests to Allstate, which sought documents and information about similarly-situated third-party-insureds, were overbroad and not reasonably calculated to lead to the discovery of admissible evidence. In In re Allstate Insurance Co., No. 04-18-00060-CV, 2018 WL 1610927 (Tex. App.—San Antonio, April 04, 2018, mem. op.), Brian Jones’ property sustained damage in an April 2016 hailstorm, and he subsequently made a claim with his insurer, Allstate, for replacement of his roof. Allstate paid for some but not all of the alleged damage and, therefore, Jones sued Allstate alleging breach of contract and violations of the Texas Insurance Code. Then, Jones served Allstate with the following request for production and interrogatory:
Produce any and all documents, relating to or arising out of any and all claims filed by your insured(s) and/or paid by you arising out of the hail storm(s) on or about April 2016, within a 5 mile radius of 103 Tabard Dr. San Antonio, Texas 78213.
Please state the address, name, and telephone number of every insured of you [sic] within a 5 mile radius of 103 Tabard Dr., San Antonio, Texas 78213 in which you paid for any damage relating to the event, resulting out of a litigation, mediation, claim, or otherwise.
Allstate objected to the requests on various grounds, but the trial court overruled the objections. On mandamus, the court held that the requests were overbroad and not reasonably calculated to lead to the discovery of admissible evidence. The court relied on In re Nat'l Lloyds Ins. Co., 449 S.W.3d 486, 488 (Tex. 2014), where the Texas Supreme Court stated that it “fail[ed] to see how National Lloyds' overpayment, underpayment, or proper payment of the claims of unrelated third parties is probative of its conduct with respect to [the plaintiff-insured’s] undervaluation claims at issue” and “this is especially so given the many variables associated with a particular claim, such as when the claim was filed, the condition of the property at the time of filing (including the presence of any preexisting damage), and the type and extent of damage inflicted by the covered event.” In relying on Nat’l Lloyds, the San Antonio Court of Appeals rejected Jones’ argument that the requests were limited in scope to the April 2016 storm, to hail damage claims only, and to the location of plaintiff's house, reasoning that “such limits in and of themselves do not render the underlying information discoverable.”