United States District Court, S.D. Florida
ORDER GRANTING DEFENDANT'S MOTION TO
M . MIDDLEBROOKS, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
CAUSE comes before the Court upon Defendant Security Mutual
Life Insurance Company of New York's
("Defendant") Motion to Compel Production of
Documents ("Motion"), filed on March 13, 2017. (DE
26). Plaintiff Mark Goodman ("Plaintiff) filed a
Response on March 23, 2017 (DE 28), to which Defendant
replied on March 27, 2017 (DE 30).
case involves Defendant's denial of Plaintiffs claim for
disability benefits under Defendant's insurance policy.
As part of its claim investigation, Defendant arranged for
Plaintiff to submit to an independent medical examination,
during which Plaintiff told the doctor that he had purchased
a home in Florida a month before he alleges that his
disability caused him to close his business. (DE 26-1). On
November 30, 2016, Defendant filed a Request for Production,
seeking all documents related to the purchase of Plaintiff s
home in Florida and the sale of Plaintiff s home in New York.
(DE 26-2). On January 11, 2017, Plaintiff objected to these
requests as overly broad, unduly burdensome, and irrelevant.
(DE 26-3). On March 3, 2017, Defendant's counsel emailed
Plaintiffs counsel to ask whether he would be amenable to
narrow the request to:
(1) The date Plaintiff listed his home in New York for sale;
(2) The date that Plaintiffs New York home was sold;
(3) The date Plaintiff entered into an agreement to purchase
the home in Florida;
(4) The date Plaintiff closed on his house in Florida;
(5) The names of the realtors Plaintiff used for the sale of
his home in New York and the purchase of his home in Florida;
(6) Documents reflecting/relating to the reason Plaintiff
bought the house in Florida.
Narrowed Request for Production") (DE 26-4). On March
10, 2017, Plaintiffs counsel stated that Plaintiff objected
to Defendant's Narrowed Request for Production as
irrelevant. (DE 26-4). Defendant moves to compel responses to
its Narrowed Request for Production.
party seeking discovery may move for an order compelling [a]
. . . production ... [if] a party fails to produce documents
... as requested." Fed.R.Civ.P. 37. The party who
resists discovery bears the burden of showing the grounds for
its objection with specificity. Josephs v. Harris
Corp., 677 F.2d 985, 992 (3d Cir. 1982).
Plaintiff argues that Defendant's Motion is barred by
Local Rule 26.1(g)(1) because it was filed more than 30 days
after Plaintiffs response to Defendant's Request for
Production. Local Rule 26.1(g)(1) provides that "[a]ll
motions related to discovery, including but not limited to
motions to compel discovery . . . shall be filed within
thirty (30) days of the occurrence of grounds for the motion.
Failure to file a discovery motion within thirty (30) days,
absent a showing of reasonable cause for a later filing, may
constitute a waiver of the relief sought." S.D. Fla.
L.R. 26.1(g)(1). I find that Defendant's Motion was not
untimely because it was filed within 30 days of Plaintiffs
objection to Defendant's Narrowed Request for Production.
Plaintiff argues that Defendant's Motion should be denied
because information related to Plaintiffs real estate
transactions is not relevant to whether Plaintiff is
disabled. Specifically, Plaintiff states that his insurance
contract does not permit Defendant to demand Plaintiffs real
estate documents, and that Defendant did not ask for this
information when it agreed to provide Plaintiff insurance or
when it initially denied Plaintiffs claim. Rule 26(b)(1)
provides that "Parties may obtain discovery regarding
any nonprivileged matter that is relevant to any party's
claim or defense and proportional to the needs of the
case." Fed.R.Civ.P. 26(b)(1). "Information within
this scope of discovery need not be admissible in evidence to
be discoverable." Id. Moreover,
"[d]iscovery should ordinarily be allowed under the
concept of relevancy unless it is clear that the information
sought has no possible bearing on the claims and defenses of
the parties." Jeld-Wen, Inc. v. Nebula Glass
Int'l Inc., Case No. 05-60860-CIV, 2007 WL 1526649,
at *1 (S.D. Fla. May 22, 2007).
has not met his burden of showing the information in
Defendant's Narrowed Request for Production has no
possible bearing on Plaintiffs claim. The evidence Defendant
has provided suggests that Plaintiff told his doctor that he
planned to retire to Florida. The timing of his retirement
corresponds with his decision to close his business, which he
claims is due to his total disability. Thus, certain