The Texas Supreme Court held that a discovery order requiring an insurer to produce “all emails, reports attached to emails, and any follow-up correspondence and information” is overbroad and reversed sanctions for refusing to produce that information. In re Nat’l Lloyds Ins. Co., No. 15-0452 (Tex. Oct. 28, 2016).
Plaintiffs sought to compel the insurer’s system-generated management reports referenced in emails in an attempt to obtain historical claims data for hail storms in prior years. The insurer argued that the reports sought did not concern historical claims, the reports did not contain information relevant to the multidistrict litigation and that all relevant reports had been produced in a keyword search of its network drives. Plaintiffs filed a motion to compel, which the trial court granted, ordering the insurer to produce “all emails, reports attached to emails, and any follow-up correspondence and information.” The insurer was also sanctioned for attorneys’ fees.
After denial of the insurer’s motion for reconsideration, it filed a mandamus proceeding with the Texas Supreme Court, which held that the compelled discovery is impermissibly overbroad. It relied on its prior opinion in In re National Lloyds, 449 S.W.3d 486, 489–90 (Tex. 2014), which similarly found that discovery of “all claim files” involving certain adjusters and adjusting firms is not reasonably calculated to lead to the discovery of admissible evidence and, therefore, the trial court’s order compelling discovery of such information is overbroad.