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Prudhomme v. Geico Insurance Co.

United States District Court, W.D. Louisiana, Lafayette Division

October 10, 2019

Prudhomme et al
Geico Insurance Co et al.

          Terry A Doughty, Judge.



         Before the Court is Plaintiffs' Motion To Compel Discovery [Rec. Doc. 99] fled by Plaintiffs, Eric Prudhomme and Elvin Jack, individually and on behalf of others similarly situated. Defendants, Government Employees Insurance Company and GEICO General Insurance Company (collectively “GEICO”), have filed a Memorandum in Opposition to Plaintiffs' Motion. [Rec. Doc. 113].

         Plaintiffs filed this Motion To Compel contending that Plaintiffs' attempts to obtain discoverable information have been “thwarted” by GEICO. They seek an order compelling GElCO “to produce documents responsive to Plaintiffs' Requests for Production, to produce corporate representatives who are knowledgeable about the topics they have been designated to testify and to produce deponents who are not unreasonably evasive and uncooperative during depositions.” R. 99.[1]

         Plaintiffs' Motion provides the following:

         1. GEICO's 30(b)(6) WITNESS

         Plaintiffs contend that Troy Don Penry was designated by GEICO as their 30(b)(6) corporate representative to testify on the following topic requested by Plaintiffs 30(b)(6) deposition Notice:

3. The process by which you identified the need for the CCC Valuescope system and the process by which the CCC Valuescope system was ultimately used;
4. Your communications with any employee, agent, or representative of CCC Valuescope regarding your use of the CCC Valuescope system prior to its implementation by you and the factors relating to your decisions to use the CCC Valuescope system.
5. The definition of the type of system that the CCC Valuescope system is, and how it reaches its values (e.g., a used motor vehicle industry source, a comparable vehicle search or a combination of both).
. . .
7. Comments and feedback given to CCC Valuescope by GEICO GENERAL INSURANCE COMPANY and GOVERNMENT EMPLOYEES INSURANCE COMPANY on the product before, during, or after its purchase and implementation at GEICO GENERAL INSURANCE COMPANY and GOVERNMENT EMPLOYEES INSURANCE COMPANY.

R. 99, Exh. A.

         Plaintiffs state that when asked about Topics 3 and 5, specifics as to the CCC Valuescope system, Penry indicated he had no knowledge of the topic and could not speak as to it. R. 99-2, Depo. Of Penry, 20:21-23, 22:5-23:8, 33:15-34:16, 46:2- 47-4, 47:5-1. As to Topics 4 and 7, Plaintiffs represent that Penry stated that he wasn't with the company when the decision to use Valuescope was made and he was not part of such conversations. Id. at 34:24-35.4. Specifically as to Topic 7 Penry stated he could not say with any certainty whether GEICO provided any comments or feedback on the CCC valuation product to CCC. Id. at 41:22-42:16, 43:12-16, 44:12-17. Thus, Plaintiffs contend, GEICO produced a 30(b)(6) witness to testify as to the corporation's knowledge who was not given any of that knowledge or adequately prepared in any way to testify on behalf of GEICO. Plaintiffs move the Court to compel GEICO to produce an adequately-prepared 30(b)(6) designee, at GEICO's cost, for a repeated deposition.

         In GEICO's opposition to the motion, it contends that Plaintiffs' requests outlined above seek information related to GEICO's initial purchase and implementation of CCC's valuation product. As testified by Penry, “GEICO believes the process started sometime during the 1990's.” Generally, GEICO states that its initial implementation of CCC's product for valuing total loss vehicles occurred more than 20 years ago. It further states that Plaintiffs' claim is that GEICO's use of the CCC product violated LSA-R.S. 22:1892B(5) and that statute was not enacted until June 2010, at least ten years after GEICO began using the CCC product. 2010 La. Sess. Law. Serv. Act 1032 (H.B. 1011).

         GEICO further contends because it does not centrally or uniformly store documents from before 2003, there is no easy way to determine what, if anything exists from before 2003, where it is located, or how to restore it to a usable format. Post-2003 data is stored on Magnetic Data Tapes held by third-party vendors. The tapes capture a snapshot of data at a specific point in time, and include data from thousands of employees. Meaning, a tape from April 18, 2005 would capture a snapshot of the data for thousands of employees as it existed on April 18, 2005. In its explanation to the Court, GEICO describes the arduous and time consuming process of restoring the data on each tape. R. 113-1, p. 9.

         GEICO objects to Plaintiffs' motion to compel another 30(b)(6) deposition as irrelevant because the “yet-to-be-enacted-for-at-least-a-decade statute” “was not... nor could not” have been a factor in the decision of why GEICO chose the product. GEICO further objects contending that the age of the data and information requested in the 30(b)(6) deposition, post-2003, would be difficult to locate and access, and at best reveal marginally relevant ...

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