United States District Court, D. Massachusetts
DIRENZO TOWING AND RECOVERY, INC. Plaintiff/Counterclaim Defendant
OWNER-OPERATOR INDEPENDENT DRVIERS ASSOCIATION, INC. and OWNER-OPERATOR SERVICES, INC. Defendants. And OOIDA RISK RETENTION GROUP, INC. Defendant/Counterclaim Plaintiff.
H. Hennessy, UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
current posture, this is an action against an insurer seeking
to establish coverage under an insurance policy.
Plaintiff/counterclaim defendant Direnzo Towing and Recovery,
Inc. (“Direnzo”) seeks to reach and apply
insurance proceeds from Defendant/counterclaimant OOIDA Risk
Retention Group, Inc. (“RRG”) for towing,
recovery, storage, and property damage remediation services
Direnzo allegedly provided in connection with a February 2014
motor vehicle accident involving RRG's insured, Kings
Trucking Corp. (“Kings”). See generally
Docket #1-1. According to its complaint, Direnzo obtained a
default judgment in Worcester County Superior Court against
Kings in the amount of $167, 700.95 plus interest and costs.
See id. at ¶¶ 46-51; Docket #14 at 2.
Direnzo and RRG have advanced competing declaratory judgment
claims seeking to resolve whether RRG's insurance
contract with Kings (the “insurance contract”)
requires RRG to provide indemnity in this action.
See Docket #1-1 at 13-14 (Direnzo's complaint);
Docket #7 at 10-15 (RRG's counterclaim).
before me by way of referral, see Docket #57; 28
U.S.C. § 636(b)(1)(A), are two requests by Direnzo for
leave to file motions to compel discovery from RRG. First,
Direnzo seeks to compel RRG to further respond to
Direnzo's first set of interrogatories. See
Docket #55. Second, Direnzo's seeks further responses to
its first set of document requests. See Docket #56.
For the reasons that follow, both requests are DENIED without
in this litigation, Direnzo unsuccessfully moved to dismiss
RRG's counterclaim seeking a declaratory judgment of no
coverage for Direnzo's alleged damages as reflected in
the Superior Court judgment. See Docket #19; Docket
#26. In the District Court's order denying that motion,
issued November 29, 2016, the Court instructed the parties to
proceed with discovery only as required to prosecute motions
for summary judgment on their declaratory judgment claims.
Docket #26. That order remains in effect.
October 28, 2016, Direnzo served on RRG a First Set of
Interrogatories and a First Set of Requests for Production of
Documents. Docket #55 at 1; Docket #56 at 1. RRG responded to
some interrogatories on January 19, 2017 and to some document
requests on February 15, 2017. Docket #55 at 1; Docket #56 at
1. RRG then produced supplemental documents and interrogatory
responses on May 26, 2017. Docket #55 at 1; Docket #56 at 1.
Direnzo maintains that RRG has responded inadequately to its
interrogatories ##1-2 and 4-9 and has improperly failed to
respond altogether to interrogatories ##11-13. Docket #55 at
2. As for its document requests, Direnzo asserts that
RRG's responses remain deficient as to requests ##1-8,
10-15, 17-27, and 65, and Direnzo accuses RRG of wrongfully
offering no response at all to requests ##9, 16, 28-64, and
66-67. Docket #56 at 2. Because I find Direnzo's
arguments for compelling this discovery legally unpersuasive,
I do not recount here the substance of the contested
interrogatories and document requests, which can be found in
the parties' filings. See Docket #55-2 at 5-8
(interrogatories); Docket #56-2 at 5-12 (document requests);
see also Docket #60 at 5-8 (RRG's summary of the
contested document requests).
submits that it needs the contested discovery materials
to properly litigate this case and to, among other things,
properly assess the reasonableness of [RRG's]
investigation of Direnzo's service, to properly assess
the reasonableness of [RRG's] policy evaluation and
coverage determination, to properly assess whether
[RRG's] denial of payment to Direnzo was appropriate
and/or lawful, to properly assess the reasonableness of
[RRG's] claims handling, and to respond to [RRG's]
Motion for Summary Judgment.
Docket #55 at 2; accord Docket #56 at 2.
Direnzo's supporting memorandum of law specifies that
Direnzo seeks this discovery in order to support two legal
arguments: first, “that the [insurance] contract is
vague, but the extrinsic evidence is sufficient to determine
coverage . . . as a matter of law, ” and second,
“that the contract is vague and coverage is a question
of fact for a jury to decide.” Docket #66 at 2-3.
The scope of discovery generally extends to: any
nonprivileged matter that is relevant to any party's
claim or defense and proportional to the needs of the case,
considering the importance of the issues at stake in the
action, the amount in controversy, the parties' relative
access to relevant information, the parties' resources,
the importance of the discovery in resolving the issues, and
whether the burden or expense of the proposed discovery
outweighs its likely benefit.
Fed. R. Civ. P. 26(b)(1). This rule affords the trial court
“broad discretion to tailor discovery narrowly and to
dictate the sequence of discovery.” Crawford-El v.
Britton, 523 U.S. 574, 598 (1998).
explains that the contested discovery relates to potential
legal arguments regarding the purported ambiguity of
RRG's insurance contract with Kings. Specifically,
Direnzo argues it needs this discovery to properly advance in
its forthcoming summary judgment motion alternative arguments
that 1) extrinsic evidence resolves the contract's
ambiguity in its favor, and 2) the contract's ambiguity
renders the issue of coverage a factual question for a jury.
See Docket #66 at 2-3. I conclude that Direnzo's
reasoning does not comport with ...