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TIG Insurance Co. v. Firemen's Insurance Company of Washington

June 22, 2010

TIG INSURANCE COMPANY, PLAINTIFF,
v.
FIREMEN'S INSURANCE COMPANY OF WASHINGTON, D.C., DEFENDANT.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Ricardo M. Urbina United States District Judge

Re Document Nos.: 11, 12, 13

MEMORANDUM OPINION

DENYING WITHOUT PREJUDICE THE PLAINTIFF'S MOTION TO SEAL;DENYING WITHOUT PREJUDICE THE DEFENDANT'S MOTION TO COMPEL AND/OR FOR SANCTIONS

I. INTRODUCTION

This matter comes before the court on plaintiff TIG Insurance Company's ("TIG" or "the plaintiff") motion for leave to file a summary judgment motion under seal, and defendant Firemen's Insurance Company of Washington, D.C.'s ("Firemen's" or "the defendant") motions to compel and for sanctions. Because the plaintiff has failed to provide the court with sufficient information to evaluate its motion for leave to file its summary judgment motion under seal, the court denies that motion without prejudice. Noting that the discovery the defendant seeks may reasonably have probative value, but further observing that the plaintiff failed to provide a privilege log the court denies without prejudice the defendant's motion to compel and/or for sanctions.

II. FACTUAL & PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND

In August 2001 and again in March 2002, during the completion of Millennium Square (the "Project"), a one million square foot mixed-use building located in Washington, D.C., the residential portion of the Project experienced significant flooding. Compl. ¶¶ 6-7. Investigation of the problem identified leaking from plumbing fittings and fixtures. Id. ¶ 8. At least eleven residents of the Project filed lawsuits (the "Resident Lawsuits") against 2200 M Street, LLC ("2200 M Street"), a limited liability subsidiary of Millennium Partnership, LLP ("Millennum") and owner of the Project, in the Superior Court of the District of Columbia and in this court, seeking compensation for the personal injury and property damage that resulted from the flooding. Id. ¶ 9.

The Resident Lawsuits resulted in the following insurance coverage and liability actions: 2200 M Street sued a number of the entities responsible for the design and construction of the Project in the Supreme Court of New York, id. ¶ 10; Millennium sued TIG, which participated in an Ownership Controlled Insurance Program providing general liability insurance coverage to Millennium and 2200 M Street, along with the contractors and sub-contractors participating in the construction of the Project, id.; and Millennium sued Firemen's, its comprehensive general liability carrier, seeking to compel Firemen's to provide Millennium a legal defense and indemnify it for any losses, id.

The insurance coverage and liability actions against the plaintiff and the defendant were resolved in accordance with a confidential Settlement Agreement and Release (the "Settlement Agreement"). Id. ¶ 11. In the Settlement Agreement, the plaintiff assumed the defense of Millennium, 2200 M Street and other related entities in the Resident Lawsuits, id. ¶ 12, and, the defendant agreed to pay the plaintiff 25% of the attorney's fees and expenses incurred in defending ten of the Resident Lawsuits brought against Millennium, id. ¶ 13.

In March 2008, the plaintiff filed this suit for breach of contract and a declaratory judgment to establish the defendant's obligation to fund 25% of the legal fees and expenses incurred in defending Millennium and 2200 M Street. Id. ¶ 1. On August 7, 2008, the defendant propounded discovery on the plaintiff in the form of interrogatories and requests for production of documents. Def.'s Mot. to Compel and/or For Sanctions ("Def.'s Mot.") ¶ 3. Over the next eleven months, the defendant sent numerous letters to the plaintiff requesting answers to the interrogatories and the production of the requested documents, including the claim files and the settlement agreements from the underlying litigation. Id. ¶ 5. The plaintiff informed the defendant that it would not produce these documents, even though it had previously acknowledged that such information was discoverable. Id. ¶ 6.

On September 25, 2009, the plaintiff responded to the defendant's interrogatories and requests for production of documents by producing the Settlement Agreement and 5,291 pages of legal bills. Id. ¶ 7. The plaintiff did not, however, comply fully with the defendant's requests, claiming that a majority of the interrogatories and documents requested by the defendant were irrelevant and implicated attorney-client privilege. Id.

On October 20, 2009, the plaintiffs filed a motion for leave to file a summary judgment motion under seal and to place any future documents relating to the Settlement Agreement under seal. See generally Pl.'s Mot. to Seal ("Pl.'s Mot."). On October 23, 2009, the defendant filed a motion to compel the plaintiff to provide full and complete responses to the interrogatories and document requests and/or to sanction the plaintiff for failure to provide or participate in discovery. See generally Def.'s Mot. With both motions now fully briefed, the court turns to the parties' arguments.

III. ANALYSIS

A. The Court Denies Without Prejudice the Plaintiff's Motion ...


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