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Branch Banking & Trust Co. v. Pacific Life Insurance Co.

United States District Court, W.D. Kentucky, Louisville

May 6, 2014

BRANCH BANKING & TRUST COMPANY, as Trustee of the Charles A. Brown & Elise A. Brown Irrevocable Life Insurance Trust Plaintiff
v.
PACIFIC LIFE INSURANCE COMPANY, Defendant.

MEMORANDUM OPINION

THOMAS B. RUSSELL, District Judge.

Before the Court is Pacific Life Insurance Company's motion to compel Branch Banking & Trust Company ("BB&T") to produce information related to the Court's December 3, 2013 proposed jury instructions. ECF No. 99. BB&T objects to this discovery, arguing that the requests do not meet the relevance standard, are overbroad, and are unduly burdensome. For the reasons discussed below, the Court will deny Pacific Life's motion to compel.

I.

The Court incorporates by reference the facts set forth in the Sixth Circuit's opinion remanding this case. See Branch Banking & Trust Co. v. Pac. Life Ins. Co., 520 F.App'x 403, 405-06 (6th Cir. 2013).

On December 3, 2013, the Court ruled on the parties' cross motions for summary judgment. At the request of the parties, the Court included a proposed jury instruction, which was subject to change. See ECF No. 99. This instruction reads:

1. You must determine whether Pacific Life was reasonable in requiring title and corporate seal or notary with Walter Koczot's signature to complete the surrender request.
Pacific life may impose requirements upon a surrender request which allow it to be objectively satisfied that the request is legitimate. In deciding whether Pacific Life's requirements were reasonable, you must decide whether the surrender request was objectively satisfactory from Pacific Life's perspective. You should not consider Pacific Life's subjective viewpoint.
You can, but are not required to, consider the following, as well as anything else you find relevant to your determination:
1. Whether Pacific Life had a reason to seek assurances of proper assignment from BB&T
2. Whether Pacific Life's prior communications to BB&T representative Walter Koczot demonstrated its recognition of Koczot as BB&T's authorized agent prior to August 2008;
3. Whether it is Pacific Life's practice or policy to request a notarized signature or corporate seal in similar circumstances; and
4. Whether it is the custom of the life insurance industry to request such additional information.
If you find that Pacific Life's requirement was reasonable, enter a verdict for Pacific Life under Question 1 of the Verdict Form. If you find that Pacific Life's requirement was unreasonable, enter a verdict for BB&T under Question 1 of the Verdict Form.

First, the Court notes that this draft instruction was provided with considerable reluctance upon the parties' request as guidance in light of the Sixth Circuit's opinion in this case. It was not meant to be definitive or final. What exact evidence a party feels it needs to prove its case or defense is ultimately left to the initiative of the parties, subject ...


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