MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
This matter is before the Court on the Plaintiff's Motion to Compel Discovery (DN 23), to which the Defendant has responded in opposition (DN 24), and the Plaintiff has replied (DN 26). This case has been referred to the undersigned Magistrate Judge for ruling on all discovery motions pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1)(A) and is now ripe for determination.
The Plaintiff seeks discovery of his complete insurance claims file (DN 23). For the following reasons, the motion is GRANTED in part and DENIED in part. The Defendant shall PRODUCE the entire file subject to objections that are articulated with sufficient specificity that the Plaintiff and the Court can assess their validity.
Background Facts and Procedural History
On or about August 25, 2009, the Plaintiff was involved in an automobile accident with Berri Humphrey. As the time of the accident, the Plaintiff had an uninsured motorist policy with Defendant Nationwide. On August 27, 2009, two days after the accident, the Plaintiff filed a claim for uninsured motorist benefits. On February 19, 2010, Nationwide made a settlement offer to the Plaintiff after investigating his claim. The Plaintiff rejected the offer and filed suit in state court against Humphrey for causing the accident and against Nationwide for uninsured motorist benefits.
The Plaintiff filed a state court case (the "first case") in Barren County Circuit Court on March 4, 2010. The first case went to jury trial, and the state court entered judgment in favor of the Plaintiff on June 1, 2011.
Subsequent to judgment in the first case, the Plaintiff filed the present suit (the "second case") in Edmonson County Circuit Court against Nationwide and Adjuster Charlie Stevens. The Plaintiff claims that these Defendants acted in bad faith and in violation of Kentucky's Unfair Claims Settlement Practices Act ("UCSPA"). The Defendant removed the second case to this Court based on diversity jurisdiction, and the Court dismissed Stevens as a party.
On July 16, 2012, the Court dismissed the Plaintiff's bad faith claims arising prior to the filing of the first case on March 4, 2010, on the grounds of claim preclusion and allowed the remaining claims to proceed (DN 18). Therefore, the only claims remaining pertain to the Defendant's "post-filing conduct."
The Plaintiff seeks a complete copy of his insurance claims file. The Defendant objects to producing the pre-litigation file, the post-litigation file documents logged as protected by attorney-client and work product privilege and documentation regarding reserves.
The Plaintiff seeks a complete copy of his insurance claims file, including those portions that the Defendant has logged as undiscoverable due to attorney-client and work product privilege (DN 23-1, p. 2). A copy of the Defendant's Privilege Log is at DN 23-4.
"Parties may obtain discovery regarding any non-privileged matter that is relevant to any party's claim or defense." Fed.R.Civ.P. 26(b)(1).
The parties devote a great deal of analysis to the issue of whether this Court should recognize and apply the asserted privileges in the present context of a "first party" bad faith action in which the insurer is suing his own insurer. This Court recently found that the attorney-client privilege and work product doctrine are generally inapplicable in first party bad faith cases. Minter v. Liberty Mut. Fire Ins. Co., 2012 WL 2430471 (W.D.Ky.).*fn1
In Shaheen v. Progressive Cas. Ins. Co., 2012 WL 3644817 at *3 (W.D.Ky.), Senior District Judge Thomas B. Russell cited the Minter approach approvingly. Based on the reasoning of Minter, the blanket privileges asserted by ...