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Church v. Travelers Indemnity Company of Illinois

Court of Workers Compensation of Montana

April 24, 1997

STEVE CHURCH Petitioner
v.
TRAVELERS INDEMNITY COMPANY OF ILLINOIS Respondent/Insurer for FOOD SERVICES OF AMERICA Employer.

          Submitted: April 10, 1997

          ORDER ON IN CAMERA INSPECTION

          CLARICE V. BECK, Hearing Examiner

         Summary: Following petitioner's motion to compel discovery, hearing examiner reviewed documents produced in camera relating to respondent insurer's claim of attorney-client privilege and work product protection.

         Held: Applying the standards regarding attorney-client privilege and work product articulated in earlier WCC decisions (Adels v. Cigna Ins. Co., WCC No. 9307-6831; Blount v. Conagera, Inc., WCC No. 9304-6769; Yaeger v. Montana Schools Group Ins. Co., WCC 9308-6872; Wetzel v. Ash Grove Cement, WCC No. 9108-6216), hearing examiner ordered production of several categories of documents, but held the following documents protected by work product doctrine: insurer's reserve information and rationale, notes regarding general settlement and discussion with the employer, mediation, estimated liability sheet, and letters setting out internal discussion about settlement. Attorney-client privilege and work product held to protect claims adjuster's notes regarding discussion with another claims adjuster and employer regarding liability in case.

         Topics:

Discovery: Claims File.

Applying the standards regarding attorney-client privilege and work product articulated in earlier WCC decisions (Adels v. Cigna Ins. Co., WCC No. 9307-6831; Blount v. Conagera, Inc., WCC No. 9304-6769; Yaeger v. Montana Schools Group Ins. Co., WCC 9308-6872; Wetzel v. Ash Grove Cement, WCC No. 9108-6216), hearing examiner ordered production of several categories of documents, but held the following documents protected by work product doctrine: insurer's reserve information and rationale, notes regarding general settlement and discussion with the employer, mediation, estimated liability sheet, and letters setting out internal discussion about settlement. Attorney-client privilege and work product held to protect claims adjuster's notes regarding discussion with another claims adjuster and employer regarding liability in case.

Discovery: In Camera Inspection.

Applying the standards regarding attorney-client privilege and work product articulated in earlier WCC decisions (Adels v. Cigna Ins. Co., WCC No. 9307-6831; Blount v. Conagera, Inc., WCC No. 9304-6769; Yaeger v. Montana Schools Group Ins. Co., WCC 9308-6872; Wetzel v. Ash Grove Cement, WCC No. 9108-6216), hearing examiner ordered production of several categories of documents, but held the following documents protected by work product doctrine: insurer's reserve information and rationale, notes regarding general settlement and discussion with the employer, mediation, estimated liability sheet, and letters setting out internal discussion about settlement. Attorney-client privilege and work product held to protect claims adjuster's notes regarding discussion with another claims adjuster and employer regarding liability in case.

Discovery: Privileges: Attorney client.

Applying the standards regarding attorney-client privilege and work product articulated in earlier WCC decisions (Adels v. Cigna Ins. Co., WCC No. 9307-6831; Blount v. Conagera, Inc., WCC No. 9304-6769; Yaeger v. Montana Schools Group Ins. Co., WCC 9308-6872; Wetzel v. Ash Grove Cement, WCC No. 9108-6216), hearing examiner ordered production of several categories of documents, but held the following documents protected by work product doctrine: insurer's reserve information and rationale, notes regarding general settlement and discussion with the employer, mediation, estimated liability sheet, and letters setting out internal discussion about settlement. Attorney-client privilege and work product held to protect claims adjuster's notes regarding discussion with another claims adjuster and employer regarding liability in case.

Discovery: Privileges: Work product.

Applying the standards regarding attorney-client privilege and work product articulated in earlier WCC decisions (Adels v. Cigna Ins. Co., WCC No. 9307-6831; Blount v. Conagera, Inc., WCC No. 9304-6769; Yaeger v. Montana Schools Group Ins. Co., WCC 9308-6872; Wetzel v. Ash Grove Cement, WCC No. 9108-6216), hearing examiner ordered production of several categories of documents, but held the following documents protected by work product doctrine: insurer's reserve information and rationale, notes regarding general settlement and discussion with the employer, mediation, estimated liability sheet, and letters setting out internal discussion about settlement. Attorney-client privilege and work product held to protect claims adjuster's notes regarding discussion with another claims adjuster and employer regarding liability in case.

         On March 31, 1997, petitioner's motion to compel discovery was filed. Respondent has responded and submitted for an in camera review the documents listed in the chart below.

         In prior discovery orders, the Court has discussed the protection afforded by the attorney/client privilege and work-product doctrine. Blount v. Conagara, Inc., WCC No. 9304-6769, Adels v. Cigna Ins. Co., WCC No. 9307-6831, Yaeger v. Montana Schools Group Ins., WCC No. 9308-6872, Wetzel v. Ash Grove Cement, WCC No. 9108-6216. The review herein has been conducted pursuant to the guidelines laid down in those decisions and the disposition for each document is reflected in the following chart.

Document No.

Date

Description

Disposition

000014

07/12/95

Note regarding description of employer and job

Produce document

000015

07/12/95

Note regarding description of employer and job

No objection to any entry on page -Produce document

000023

12/11/95

Correspondence between Diane Nelson and another claims adjuster

Produce document

000024

12/11/95

Correspondence between Diane Nelson and another claim's adjuster

No objection to any entry on page -Produce document

000026

02/13/96

Note regarding respondent and its insurer's reserves

Redact information regarding reserve rationale, work product - Produce redacted document

000027

02/21/96

General reserve rationale of file

Redact information concerning General Reserve Rationale - Produce redacted document

000033

06/21/96

Note regarding general settlement authorization

Produce document

000039

07/23/96

& 07/26/96

Estimate rationale note from claim's adjuster to Diane Nelson and notes regarding general settlement and discussions with employer

Work product - Production denied

000042, 000044 & 000045

These documents were not produced for review

000046

10/23/96 & 12/07/96

Mediation information and notes regarding authority to make payment from supervising claim's adjuster

Redact mediation information -Produce redacted document

000048

02/05/97

Notes regarding deadlines and strategies regarding case of claim's adjuster, Diane Nelson

Produce document

000049

02/07/97

Claim's adjuster notes regarding discussion with another claim's adjuster and employer

Attorney Client/Work Product - Production denied

000050 -000056

Documents not produced for review

000077

05/17/95

Statistic sheet containing information regarding internal operations of the employer and Travelers Insurance Company

Redact insurance policy numbers, bank codes, and states covered - Produce redacted document

000079

05/12/95

Statistic sheet containing information regarding internal operations of the employer and Travelers Insurance Company

Redact insurance policy numbers, bank codes, and states covered - Produce redacted document

000082

Unknown

Food Services of America Workers' Compensation Account forms

Redact insurance policy numbers, bank codes, and states covered - Produce redacted document

000087

01/23/96

Letter from Diane Nelson, Travelers, to Kevin Malley, Food Services of America

Produce document

000088

02/16/96

Letter from Diane Nelson, Travelers, to Kevin Malley, Food Services of America

Produce document

000092

05/15/96

Letter from Diane Nelson, Travelers, to Kevin Malley, Food Services of America

Produce document

000093

07/07/95

Letter regarding reserve/advisory report from Diane Nelson, Travelers, to Joe Lhamon, Risk Manager, Food Services of America

Work product - Production denied

000094

07/06/95

Estimated liability sheet and reserve report of Travelers Insurance Company and Food Services of America

Work product - Production denied

000095

02/23/96

Letter regarding reserve/advisory report from Diane Nelson, Travelers, to Tim Holland, Food Services of America

Work product - Production denied

000096

02/21/96

Estimated liability sheet and reserve report of Travelers Insurance Company and Food Services of America

Work product - Production denied

000104

06/24/96

Letter from Diane Nelson, Travelers, regarding authorization for settlement to Tim Holland, Vice President of Operations, Food Services of America

Work product - Production denied

000216

02/13/96

Letter from Diane Nelson, Travelers, to Kevin Malley, Food Services of America

Produce document

000217

02/14/96

Letter from Kevin Malley, Director of Operations, Food Services of America, to Diane Nelson, Travelers Insurance

Produce document

         ACCORDINGLY, IT IS HEREBY ORDERED that:

         Respondent must produce numbers 000014, 000015, 000023, 000024, 000026 (with information regarding reserve rationale redacted), 000027 (with General Reserve Rationale redacted), 000033, 000046 (with mediation information redacted), 000048, 000077, 000079 (with insurance policy numbers, bank codes and states covered redacted), 000082 (with insurance ...


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