United States District Court, D. Nevada
For David Cranmer, Plaintiff: Thomas F. Christensen, LEAD ATTORNEY, Christensen Law Offices LLC, Las Vegas, NV.
For Colorado Casualty Insurance Company, Defendant: Alex Fugazzi, LEAD ATTORNEY, Snell & Wilmer, Las Vegas, NV; Amy M. Samberg, LEAD ATTORNEY, Snell & Wilmer L.L.P., Tucson, AZ; Joshua D Cools, LEAD ATTORNEY, Snell & Wilmer LLP, Las Vegas, NV.
CAM FERENBACH, UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE.
This matter involves David Cranmer's bad-faith insurance action against Colorado Casualty Insurance Company. Before the court is Colorado Casualty's Motion for a Protective Order (#18). Cranmer opposed (#19); and Colorado Casualty replied (#21). Also before the court is Cranmer's Motion to Compel (#20). Colorado Casualty opposed (#22) and Cranmer failed to reply. For the reasons stated below, Colorado Casualty's Motion for a Protective Order is granted and Cranmer's Motion to Compel is granted in part and denied in part.
Cranmer's action presents one question: whether Colorado Casualty Insurance Company engaged in bad faith by failing to promptly pay uninsured-motorist insurance benefits under Cranmer's policy. ( See Compl. #1-1). On February 13, 2012, Cranmer was involved in an automobile accident. (Id. at ¶ 7). The other driver was at fault and underinsured. (Id. at ¶ ¶ 7-8). Cranmer filed a claim for uninsured-motorist insurance benefits with his insurance carrier, Colorado Casualty Insurance Company. (Id.) The company stated, however, " that there was no coverage under the policy." (Id. at ¶ 11). Approximately two years later, Colorado Casualty " offered $15, 000.00 in coverage, but improperly requested a full release for this payment." (Pl.'s Mot. to Compel (#20) at 6:11-12). This, Cranmer alleges, constitutes bad faith.
On January 8, 2013, Cranmer commenced this action. The parties are currently in the midst of discovery. On September 11, 2014, Colorado Casualty filed the instant Motion for a Protective Order; and on October 6, 2014, Cranmer filed the instant Motion to Compel. The motions raise two discrete questions: (1) whether Colorado Casualty's responsive documents contain trade secrets that are entitled to protection under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 26(c) and (2) whether thirty five of Cranmer's discovery requests are " relevant" within the meaning of Rule 26(b). Both questions are discussed below.
I. Colorado Casualty's Motion for a Protective Order
The court begins with Colorado Casualty's Motion for a Protective Order. It concerns three of Cranmer's requests for production of documents. (Def.'s Opp'n (#19) at 3:12-20). They seek (1) " [a]ny and all documents . . . used to train or assist Defendant's injury claims personnel in processing claims; " (2) " [a]ll Defendant's documents related to an insurer's duty of good faith or the obligation to avoid bad faith conduct in handling claims; " and (3) " [a]ll Defendant's documents related to unfair claims handling practices or the rules related to unfair claims handling practices." (Id.)
Colorado Casualty does not oppose production or argue that Cranmer's requests are disproportional or overbroad in light of " the issues at stake." See Fed.R.Civ.P. 26(b)(2)(B)-(C). Rather, it merely requests entry of a confidential-discovery protective order to safeguard trade secrets from public disclosure. (Def.'s Mot. (#18) at 1). Cranmer proffers a variety of arguments in opposition to the motion. Each is predicated on a misunderstanding of law. Therefore, the court begins with a general discussion of protective orders.
A. Protective Orders in Federal Practice
There are three general categories of protective orders. The first category protects parties from producing discovery in response to a discovery request under Rules 30 and 33 through 36. See, e.g., Fed.R.Civ.P. 26(b)(2), (c)(1)(A). The second category protects a person's privacy interests by preventing the public from accessing court records. See, e.g., Fed.R.Civ.P. 26(c)(1)(F)-(H). The third category involves private agreements that generally require information obtained during discovery to be kept confidential. See, e.g., Fed.R.Civ.P. 26(c)(1). Generally, a District ...