OCALA — A federal court has denied in part and granted in part a motion made by Ocala residents who were injured in a car accident to compel better responses to interrogatories and requests for production in a case involving Progressive Insurance's handling of the claims.
According to the April 5 U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Florida Ocala Division order, plaintiffs Yolanda Aldana, Leyvier Herrera and Yolanda Aldana petitioned the court to review their motion in a case against defendant Progressive American Insurance Company.
The case stems from the handling of insurance claims made by the plaintiffs against Nathan Pyles, who is insured by Progressive and who allegedly caused a rear end collision that resulted in the plaintiff's car being pushed into the car in front of them driven by Jaron Ang.
The plaintiffs sued Pyles and were awarded $51 million by a jury with Pyles then assigning a bad-faith claim against Progressive to the plaintiffs. The plaintiffs argue that Progressive is responsible for "minimizing" Pyles' liability and that the insurance company insisted on "global settlement for all parties involved in the accident" rather than making a "timely" settlement offer.
The plaintiffs asked the court to require Progressive to provide better responses relating to when they told Pyles of Ang's request to settle and if the company told Pyles to use his personal funds for the settlement. The plaintiffs also asked for files relating to other claims that were handled by the same employee at Progressive.
Progressive argued that the requested interrogatories are irrelevant because the plaintiffs did not allege the company "failed to communicate with its insured parties." Progressive also argued that the information sought by the plaintiffs "is beyond the scope of permissible discovery."
U.S. District Judge Philip Lammens disagreed and stated that Progressive's communication regarding potential settlement offers to the insured and its advising the insured to use personal funds for a settlement "would appear to be relevant to these allegations."
Regarding the plaintiffs requests for production, Philip concluded that the plaintiffs already had received the Progressive employee's personnel file and they made "no support for the proposition that they are further entitled to specific claims files" not related to the suit.