For your Friday afternoon reading pleasure, here’s a peek at the game of duck-duck-goose Renfroe and State Farm are playing with the motions they file in Mississippi (McIntosh v State Farm) and Alabama (Renfroe v Rigsby).
As “peek” implies this game goes on all the time – this particular round started when Judge Walker issued an order compelling the Scruggses to provide documents for discovery in McIntosh. If you need more background, you can read the Scrugges’ response, State Farm’s reply, and the Scruggses supplemental response.
Here’s that “peek” at how the game is playing now.
The Renfroes filed a motion yesterday – correctly called a joinder – to join State Farm in opposing the Scruggses’ response.
In addition to the arguments made by State Farm, Renfroe respectfully submits that the Scruggses should not be permitted to avoid their obligations under this Court’s orders to produce documents deemed relevant in this action, by claiming that the requested documents have been produced in other actions.
Meanwhile, earlier in the month over in Alabama, State Farm filed a motion in opposition to the Rigsby’s motion to compel discovery in Renfroe v Rigsby – using the same argument of potential harm the Scrugges have used to oppose State Farm in Mississippi!
In short, faced with a situation that could have had serious unintended consequences in other State Farm cases…For a party to obtain disclosure of work product other than opinion work product, it must demonstrate a “substantial need for the materials to prepare its case and cannot, without undue hardship, obtain their substantial equivalent by other means.”
In contrast, “‘opinion work product enjoys a nearly absolute immunity and can be discovered only in very rare and extraordinary circumstances.’” Cox, 17 F.3d at 1422 (quoting In re Murphy, 560 F.2d 326, 336 (8th Cir.1977)). “Not even the most liberal of discovery theories can justify unwarranted inquiries into the files and the mental impressions of an attorney.” Hickman v. Taylor, 329 U.S. 495, 510 (1947).
“Too cute for words” as they say in Alabama – Renfroe joins State Farm and asks Judge Walker to do the Scrugges in Mississippi exactly what State Farm opposes the Rigsby’s doing to them in Renfroe’s Alabama case against the Rigsby sisters.
That’s a lot of ducks – so the question is will Judge Walker be the goose and play their little game or did he read about Acker-the-hatter and figure this all out?