The ongoing lawsuit between Allstate Insurance Company, Allstate Fire and Casualty Insurance Company, Allstate Indemnity Company and Allstate Property and Casualty Insurance Company (collectively Allstate) and defendants Auto Glass America LLC (AGA) and its owner, Charles Isaly show no signs of slowing down. Subpoena recipient Auto Glass Inspection Services Inc. (AGIS) continues to file objections to and motions against Allstate’s “non-party Subpoena Deposition Duces Tecum.”
A subpoena duces tecum, or subpoena for production of evidence, is a court summons ordering the recipient to appear before the court and produce relevant documents for use at a trial, according to court documents. AGIS believes the request for subpoena should be rejected because it contends:
- The investigative reports Allstate seeks to discover are work product;
- Documents, reports and videotapes generated by investigators hired to investigate an accident are protected from discovery by work product;
- Work-up and evaluation files prepared by an insurance company’s claims file personnel are privileged work product;
- Claims file work product privilege extends to independent investigators hired by an insurer in assist in evaluating a claim; and
- The information is considered a trade secret.
According to court documents, the protective order motion was filed by AGIS, which is not a party in the ongoing lawsuit.
“AGIS is an independent company that is allegedly used by the plaintiffs/counter-defendants to inspect and verify damage to its insureds’ windshields,” a portion of the courts response to AGIS’s order of protection motion reads.
The presiding judge denied AGIS’s motion for a protection order and cited three reasons for his decision.
“First, the motion does not comply with Local Rule 3.01(g) because it is silent as to whether the opposing counsel (whoever that may be) opposes the motion. Second, AGIS has not filed the subpoena on the docket. Without a copy of the subpoena, the Court cannot determine whether these unidentified requests for production are reasonable or seek information that is, in fact, privileged,” a portion of the Court’s response to AGIS’s motion reads. “Third, AGIS has not filed any evidence, such as an affidavit or declaration, to support its contention that the information sought is privileged and should be protected. A person moving for a protective order must show “good cause” exists for the court to issue such an order.”
Just days after the Court denied the motion for a protective order, Jim Larson, AGIS president, filed an affidavit in Federal Court in support of the motion requesting the order of protection. According to his affidavit, Larson claims the company is in need of the protection order to “protect its proprietary information.”
AGIS also filed documents to support the need for the protective order in a renewed motion for a protective order, according to court documents. The company alleges the processes it uses to determine the cost of adhesive kits regarding replacement windshields is considered a trade secret and should be viewed as such in the Court.
The lawsuit began with Allstate’s complaint alleging that both AGA and Isaly pressured its insureds into hiring them for windshield replacements, while obtaining assignment of benefits (AOBs). The lawsuit began to heat up, as AGA and Isaly responded to Allstate’s emergency motion 24 hours before the presiding judge issued an order. To which AGA and Isaly filed another motion against Allstate. Shortly after a mediation was scheduled.
The insurance company previously urged the court to deny AGA and Isaly’s motion to compel Allstate to provide its pricing agreements. Allstate cited confidentiality as its reason for not providing its pricing agreements. However the presiding judge ordered the insurance company to produce its pricing agreements.
From there AGA and Isaly responded to Allstate’s emergency protective order. The presidingjudge then issued an order regarding the emergency motion. Last week Allstate requested additional time to meet with the defendants for mediation, to which the judge granted parts and dismissed parts. Ultimately the Court extended the mediation deadline until May 29, 2020. Following the mediation extension, Allstate filed an unopposed motion that requested additional time for the insurance company to respond to the defendants’ motion to dismiss for lack of subject matter jurisdiction.
Allstate then asked the court for a dismissal on AGA and Isaly’s motion to compel “computations of each category of damages” for each plaintiff, citing that the motion was frivolous. The court decided to discharge all of defense attorney Michael Laurato’s show cause orders. New dates, along with a virtual mediation were scheduled at the beginning of May, but the mediator selected filed a notice of cancellation. In the middle of May 2020, AGIS objected to its subpoena from Allstate, which lead to subsequent motions requesting an order of protection.
Look to a future edition of glassBYTEs for continued coverage of the suit.