Coverage Analysis
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DISCOVERY ISSUES

Claims Manuals

Discovery permitted in Glenfed Development Corp. v. National Union Fire Ins. Co. of Pittsburgh, PA, 53 Cal. App. 4th 1113, 62 Cal. Rptr.2d 195 (2d Dist. 1997); Lincoln Properties Ltd. v. CIGNA Ins. Co., San Joaquin No. 238274 (Cal. Super. February 12, 1993).  However, a trial court earlier ruled that such discovery has no probative value in determining the mutual intent of the parties as reflected in the insurance contracts. Transport Indem. Ins. Co. v. Argonaut Ins. Co.. No. 262425 (Cal. Super. Feb. 1, 1988).

Drafting History

Discovery permitted in Lincoln Properties Ltd. v. CIGNA Ins. Co., San Joaquin No. 238274 (Cal. Super. December 3, 1992); Hartford Acc. & Ind. Co. v. Employers Ins. of Wausau, San Francisco No. 847212 (Cal. Super. December 17, 1992).  See also Glenfed, supra (dicta).

Discovery was not permitted in Interstate Brands Corp. v. Northbrook National Ins. Co., No. B087522 (Cal. App. October 2, 1996)(absolute pollution exclusion and scope of "personal injury" coverage).

Other Policyholder Claims

In Pfizer, Inc. v. Aetna Casualty & Surety Co.,1997 Cal. App. LEXIS 984 (4th Dist. October 29, 1997), the Court of Appeals ruled that a heart valve manufacturer was entitled to discovery as to how its insurers had determined the "trigger" for similar long tail claims to determine whether inconsistent claims handling would support a claim of ambiguity or, in any event, show that the insurers sometimes used the same trigger approach as Pfizer did, thus supporting a claim of "reasonable expectations." Discovery of such information was also permitted in Owens-Brockway Glass Container, Inc. v. Sea Board Surety Co., No. Civ. S-91-1044 (E.D. Cal. May 27, 1992)(10/10); Lincoln Properties Ltd. v. CIGNA Ins. Co., San Joaquin No. 238274 (Cal. Super. December 3, 1992)10/10); Hartford Acc. & Ind. Co. v. Employers Ins. of Wausau, San Francisco No. 847212 (Cal. Super. December 17, 1992); Union Oil Co. of California v. Allianz Ins. Co.,  Los Angeles No. BC-028-270 (Cal. Super. February 17, 1993). 

Discovery barred in Breshears, Inc. v. Federated Mutual Ins. Co., 38 F.3d 1219 (9th Cir. 1994)(Unpublished: full text at 1994 U.S. App. LEXIS 29245).

Reinsurance Information

Discovery permitted in Hartford Acc. & Ind. Co. v. Employers Ins. of Wausau, San Francisco No. 847212 (Cal. Super. December 17, 1992); Union Oil Co. of California v. Allianz Ins. Co.,  Los Angeles No. BC-028-270 (Cal. Super. February 17, 1993). 

Reserves

Discovery permitted in  Union Oil Co. of California v. Allianz Ins. Co.,  Los Angeles No. BC-028-270 (Cal. Super. February 17, 1993).  However, the Court of Appeal ruled in Firemans Fund Ins.  Co.  v.  Superior Court, 233 Cal. App.  3d 1138, 286 Cal.  Rptr.  50 (1991), that a trial court had erred in requiring an insurer to disclose all the insurance communications and documents.  While recognizing that the context of some of the communications could be relevant to the underlying coverage dispute, the court ruled that the information was sufficiently sensitive that it should first be reviewed by the court in camera.  Further, the court declared that there was no rationale for disclosing the reinsurance treaties at all.

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