United States District Court, D. Maryland
JUDY GIOIOSO Plaintiff.
THOROUGHGOOD'S TRANSPORT LLC and MICHAEL D. BAILEY. Defendants.
Copperthite, United States Magistrate Judge.
Memorandum Opinion addresses the Motion for Protective Order
(ECF No. 30) filed by Defendants Thoroughgood's Transport
LLC and Michael Bailey (collectively,
•"Defendants") against Plaintiff Judy Gioioso.
On November 30. 2016, Plaintiff filed suit in this Court
against Defendants alleging counts of negligence, respondeat
superior, and negligent entrustment arising out of an
automobile accident between Plaintiff and Defendant Bailey,
who was employed by Defendant Thoroughgood's and driving
one of Defendant Thoroughgood's vehicles. ECF No. 1
(hereinafter "the Complaint"). On December 7, 2016,
Defendants filed separate answers to the Complaint. ECF Nos.
discovery commenced, the discovery deadline was extended to
September 1, 2017. ECF Nos. 18, 23. In mid-June 2017,
PlaintiIT served deposition notices for two of
Defendants' insurer's adjusters and requested that
the insurer produce its documents regarding the parties,
including the claim file. ECF No. 30-3. On July 17, 2017,
Defendants filed a Motion for Protective Order (hereinafter
"the Motion"). ECF No. 30. On July 27. 2017,
Plaintiff filed an opposition to Defendants' Motion, ECF
No. 32, and subsequently filed a supplement, ECF No. 33.
Defendants responded to Plaintiffs opposition on August 2,
2017. ECF No. 34.
matter is now fully briefed. Upon review of Defendants'
Motion. Plaintiffs opposition and supplement, and
Defendants' response, the Court finds no hearing is
necessary. See Local Rule 105.6. For the reasons
stated herein, the Court DENIES Defendants' Motion for
lawsuit arises out of a motor vehicle accident that occurred
on July 21, 2014 near the intersection of Route 50 and Golf
Course Road in Berlin, Maryland. In her Complaint, Plaintiff
alleges that Defendant Baily, as an employee of Defendant
Thoroughgood's, negligently drove his motor vehicle into
the rear of her car which was lawfully stopped at an
intersection, injuring Plaintiff as a result. ECF No. 30 at
4. Defendants deny liability. Id
8, 2017, Plaintiff deposed John Thoroughgood. President of
Defendant Thoroughgood's, and Defendant Bailey. ECF No.
30 at 4. On or around June 12, 2017. Plaintiff noted the
depositions of two insurance adjusters, Robin Raymond and
Gail Mandell, employees of the Harford Mutual Insurance
Company, the Defendants' insurer, requesting that they
produce the claim file and any other documents regarding the
parties. ECF No. 30-3. Defendants now move for a protective
order for their insurance adjusters, arguing that the
requested information is privileged and protected by the
attorney work-product doctrine. ECF No. 30.
Burden of Proof
Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 26(c), the authority to grant
or deny a protective order is within the purview of the
Court. Discovery rules are to be accorded broad and liberal
construction. See Herbert v. Lando, 441 U.S. 153,
177 (1979); Hickman v. Taylor, 329 U.S. 495, 507
(1947). Nevertheless, a court may "issue an order to
protect a party or person from annoyance, embarrassment,
oppression, or undue burden or expense." Fed.R.Civ.P.
26(c)(1). Protective orders pursuant to Rule 26(c)
"should be sparingly used and cautiously granted."
Medlin v. Andrew, 113 F.R.D. 650. 652 (M.D. N.C.
1987). "'Normally, in determining good cause, a
court will balance the interest of a party in obtaining the
information versus the interest of his opponent in keeping
the information confidential or in not requiring its
production.*" UAI Tech., Inc. v. Valutech.
Inc., 122 F.R.D. 188, 191 (M.D. N.C. 1988) (citation
omitted). The party moving for a protective order bears the
burden of establishing good cause. Webb v. Green Tree
Servicing LLC, 283 F.R.D. 276, 278 (D.Md. 2012).
stated previously. Defendants have asserted that the
requested information constitutes privileged work product
because it was prepared in anticipation for litigation.
"In diversity cases, work-product protection is governed
by the uniform federal standard outlined in Fed.R.Civ.P.
26(b)(3)." Black & Veatch Corp. v. Aspen Ins.
(UK) Ltd., 297 F.R.D. 611, 615-16 (D.Kan. 2014)
(citation omitted). Rule 26(b)(3)(A) of the Federal Rules of
Civil Procedure states that:
Ordinarily, a party may not discover documents and tangible
things that are prepared in anticipation of litigation or for
trial by or for another party or its representative
(including the other party's attorney, . . . insurer, or
agent). But, subject to Rule 26(b)(4), those materials may be
(i) they are otherwise discoverable under Rule 26(b)(1); and
(ii) the party shows that it has substantial need for the
materials to prepare its case and cannot, without undue
hardship, obtain their substantial equivalent by other means.
Fourth Circuit set forth a three part framework for
determining the ...