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Pipeline Productions, Inc. v. Madison Companies, LLC

United States District Court, D. Kansas

April 23, 2018

PIPELINE PRODUCTIONS, INC., BACKWOOD ENTERPRISES, LLC, OK PRODUCTIONS, INC., and BRETT MOSIMAN, Plaintiffs,
v.
THE MADISON COMPANIES, LLC, and HORSEPOWER ENTERTAINMENT, LLC, Defendants.

          ORDER

          James P. O'Hara U.S. Magistrate Judge

         This matter comes before the court upon defendants' Motion to Compel Insurance Agreements (ECF No. 113). For the following reasons, defendants' motion is granted.

         I.

         This action arises from a failed music concert, the Thunder on the Mountain music festival. Plaintiffs allege that they entered into a joint venture with the defendants to own and produce the music festival. Plaintiffs contend that defendants reneged on the agreement, and the festival had to be cancelled. Plaintiffs seek compensatory and punitive damages as well as attorneys' fees. Defendants have filed counterclaims against plaintiffs. They seek declaratory and injunctive relief, compensatory and punitive damages, and attorneys' fees.

         II.

         Defendants seek production of insurance agreements that plaintiffs were obligated to produce pursuant to Fed. F. Civ. P. 26(a)(1)(A)(iv). Defendants contend that plaintiffs have acknowledged that such policies exist, but they have unilaterally determined that those policies do not apply to this case. Defendants argue that the policies must be produced so that they can determine whether they apply here.

         In response, plaintiffs suggested that defendants' motion was unnecessary because they “do not have any insurance policies under which an insurance business may be liable to satisfy any judgment which might be entered against them in this case.” They note they did not make the coverage determination themselves, but rather they relied upon their insurance agent. Accordingly, they contend that defendants' motion is moot because they have produced the necessary insurance policies.

         In reply, defendants again contend that plaintiffs have not produced all relevant insurance policies and certificates. Defendants argue that several policies may exist that provide coverage and it is not up to plaintiffs to make the decision on the possibility of coverage. Defendants assert that the court should require plaintiffs to produce all policies and certificates from May 2012 to the present, regardless of whether plaintiffs believe they provide coverage for any of defendants' claims or act to offset or mitigate damage against plaintiffs.

         The parties made efforts to resolve this matter prior to filing the motion to compel, but were unable to do so.

         III.

         Rule 26(a)(1)(A)(iv) provides as follows:

Except as exempted by Rule 26(a)(1)(B) or as otherwise stipulated or ordered by the court, a party must, without awaiting a discovery request, provide to the other parties . . . (iv) for inspection and copying as under Rule 34, any insurance agreement under which an insurance business may be liable to satisfy all or part of a possible judgment in the action or to indemnify or reimburse for payments made to satisfy the judgment.

         This rule requires a party to produce “any insurance agreement” that “may provide coverage.”[1] The rule is absolute and does not provide any showing of relevance.[2] The Advisory Committee Notes to Rule 26 provide that the rule “resolves the issue in favor of disclosure” because “[d]isclosure of insurance coverage will enable counsel for both sides to make the same realistic appraisal of the case, so that settlement and litigation strategy are based on knowledge and not speculation.”[3] A party may not claim that its insurance policies do not provide coverage and then refuse to permit its adversary to see those policies so that the ...


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