United States District Court, M.D. Florida, Tampa Division
STEPP'S TOWING SERVICE, INC. Plaintiff,
STATE NATIONAL INSURANCE COMPANY, INC., Defendant,
ARNOLD SANSONE UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE.
Towing Service moves to compel discovery from State National.
(Doc. 18). Stepp's Towing Service also moves for
reasonable expenses incurred as a result of submitting its
motion to compel. (Id.) State National objects to
Stepp's Towing Service's motion to compel. (Doc.
Stepp's Towing Service requested discovery relevant to
its claims against State National and State National's
objection was not substantially justified. Therefore,
Stepp's Towing Service's motion to compel and request
for reasonable expenses is GRANTED.
15, 2018, counsel for Stepp's Towing Service provided a
draft “Notice of Taking Deposition Duces Tecum of
Corporate Representative of State National Insurance Company,
Inc.” to opposing counsel. (Doc. 18-2). After multiple
attempts by Stepp's Towing Service to secure a deposition
date, State National objected to the deposition topics and
indicated that it intended to file a motion for protective
order. (Docs. 18-4, 20). Two weeks later, State National
still had not filed a motion for protective order and had not
coordinated a deposition in response to the five dates
Stepp's Towing Service originally offered. (Doc. 18, p.
3). As a result, Stepp's Towing Service submitted its
motion to compel the corporate representative deposition.
March 5, 2018, Stepp's Towing Service served
interrogatories on State National. (Doc. 18-5). In May 2018,
Susan Masyada answered and objected to the interrogatories on
behalf of State National; however, Ms. Masyada did not sign
the answers as required by Rule 33(b)(5). (Doc. 18-6). At
least as of the date of Stepp's Towing Service's
motion to compel, the interrogatory answers remained unsigned
and State National does not indicate that the interrogatory
answers were signed after Stepp's Towing Service's
motion to compel the signature. (Docs. 18, 20).
Motion to Compel Deposition Duces Tecum
Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 26(b)(1), a party may obtain
discovery about any nonprivileged matter relevant to any
party's claim or defense and proportional to the needs of
the case. Fed.R.Civ.P. 26(b)(1). Discovery is meant to assist
parties in ascertaining facts that bear on issues in the
case. ACLU of Fla., Inc. v. City of Sarasota, 859
F.3d 1337, 1340 (11th Cir. 2017) (citations omitted).
Rule of Civil Procedure 37(a) allows a party to move for an
order compelling discovery from the opposing party.
Fed.R.Civ.P. 37(a). When a party objects to discovery, that
party must specifically demonstrate how the requested
discovery is unreasonable or unduly burdensome. Panola
Land Buyers Ass'n v. Shuman, 762 F.2d 1550, 1559-60
(11th Cir. 1985).
Stepp's Towing Service moves to compel a deposition duces
tecum of a State National corporate representative. (Doc.
18). Stepp's Towing Service's cause of action arises
from an alleged breach of contract by State National. (Doc.
2). Specifically, Stepp's Towing Service claims State
National failed to indemnify Stepp's Towing Service,
required under an insurance agreement between the two
parties, for an incident involving a damaged crane.
(Id. at 2).
topics Stepp's Towing Service wants the corporate
representative to address and the documents Stepp's
Towing Service wants the corporate representative to produce
relate to the insurance agreement at the heart of this case.
(Doc. 18-2). Stepp's Towing Service also wishes to ask
State National's corporate representative about the basis
on which State National denied coverage under its insurance
agreement with Stepp's Towing Service. (Id. at
3). These matters are relevant to Stepp's Towing
Service's claims against State National. Therefore,
Stepp's Towing Service's motion to compel with
respect to its notice of corporate representative deposition
duces teum is granted.
Motion to Compel Signed Interrogatories
Towing Service moves to compel State National to provide
“an executed and notarized signature page for its
interrogatory answers.” (Doc. 18, p. 4).
National provided answers to the interrogatories Stepp's
Towing Service served. (Doc. 18-6). But no officer or agent
from State National signed the answered interrogatories.
(Id. at 6). Under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure
33(b)(5), the officer or agent who answers the
interrogatories must sign them. Fed.R.Civ.P. 33(b)(5).
Therefore, Ms. Masyada must sign the answers and Stepp's
Towing Service's motion to compel with respect ...