In Westfield Ins. Co. v. Icon Legacy Custom Modular Homes, 321 F.R.D. 107 (M.D. Pa. 2017), a policyholder could not get discovery of its Commercial General Liability carrier's underwriting files.
The carrier was the plaintiff in that case. It filed a declaratory judgment action that it had no coverage for an underlying claim.
The policyholder, a homebuilder, filed a counterclaim for bad faith which was dismissed before the discovery issue was resolved.
The policyholder requested production of the plaintiff carrier's underwriting files in this declaratory judgment action to determine coverage. The carrier refused. The policyholder then filed a motion to compel production of the carrier's underwriting files.
The Court in that case denied the defendant policyholder's motion and refused to order the underwriting files to be disclosed. In the eyes of the Court, the policy was not ambiguous. Since the policy was not ambiguous, Pennsylvania law would not allow the admission of extrinsic evidence to contradict or alter the plain meaning of the contract. Since extrinsic evidence could not be admitted under Pennsylvania law, the Court ruled as a result both that the request for production of underwriting files was neither relevant nor reasonably calculated to lead to the discovery of admissible evidence, and that the requested production of underwriting files was not "proportional" in a case in which that extrinsic evidence could never be admitted.
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