boogaloo shing-a-ling Judge Walker orders State Farm to dance with Boosier

In accordance with the Court’s order of June 5, 2009, the Court has reviewed in camera certain emails withheld from production by State Farm on grounds of privilege. The pages of emails are sequentially numbered BOSR00000001PRIV through BOSR00000048; BOSR00000010EM through BOSR00000035EM; and BOSR00000045EM through BOSR00000050EM.

I was working my way through a stack of briefs when Here Comes the Judge with an Order in Bossier v State Farm that gives State Farm’s privilege log the boogaloo shing-a-ling.

(all emphasis below added)

Judge I got a boy here who can’t dance.

The Court will first take the opportunity to advise counsel that any time documents claimed to be privileged are ordered produced for in camera inspection, the privilege log asserting the privilege claimed should accompany the documents delivered to the Court.

Can’t dance?  Ah

In the present case, searching through other documents filed with the Court yielded the pertinent privilege log attached as an exhibit to another pleading.

Ninety days...

The privilege claimed for all the documents reviewed by the Court is “anticipation of litigation.” … Documents prepared in the ordinary course of business are not protected as prepared in anticipation of litigation…

After careful examination of each page of the documents…

thirty days for boogaloo…

… the Court finds the following documents are protected from discovery:

Page BOSR00000001PRIV – Page BOSR00000003PRIV consisting of emails between Dannye Smith and attorney Scot Spragins, from Terry Blalock to Spragins among others, and from Michael Sebald to Spragins.

Page BOSR00000007PRIV, top portion: 3/10/2008 email from Sebald to Spragins (identical to part of Page BOSR00000003PRIV above).

Page BOSR00000009PRIV through Page BOSR00000010PRIV (repeats of Pages
BOSR00000001PRIV through Page BOSR00000003PRIV above).

Top of Page BOSR00000012PRIV the first email on the page only, from Scot Spragins to Dannye Smith.

Top of Page BOSR00000015PRIV emails from Michael Sebald and Spragins.

Top of Page BOSR00000017PRIV emails between Michael Sebald, Dannye Smith and Spragins.

Page BOSR00000019PRIV emails between Terry Blalock, Michael Sebald and attorneys Spragins and Goodloe Lewis.

Page BOSR00000021PRIV through Page BOSR00000023PRIV (repeats of Pages BOSR00000001PRIV through Page BOSR00000003PRIV above).

Page BOSR00000025PRIV (repeats of emails from BOSR00000003PRIV; Page BOSR00000021PRIV through Page BOSR00000024.)

Page BOSR00000027PRIV through the top of BOSR00000028PRIV (repeats emails from BOSR00000001PRIV through Page BOSR00000003PRIV).

Page BOSR00000030PRIV through top of Page BOSR00000031PRIV (repeats of emails from BOSR00000002PRIV through Page BOSR00000003PRIV).

Page BOSR00000033PRIV through Page BOSR00000034PRIV (repeats of emails from BOSR00000002PRIV through Page BOSR00000003PRIV).

Page BOSR00000036PRIV through top of BOSR00000038PRIV (repeats of emails from BOSR00000001PRIV through Page BOSR00000003PRIV).

Top of Page BOSR00000040PRIV emails between Dannye Smith and Scott Spragins.

BOSR00000043PRIV emails between Sebald and Spragins (repeats of emails from BOSR00000015PRIV).

BOSR00000021EM email dated 6/12/2008 from Dannye Smith to Terry Blalock.

BOSR00000045EM (repeat of email on BOSR00000021EM).

BOSR00000046EM 6/12/2008 emails between Blalock and Dannye Smith.

Thirty days to learn how to shing-a-ling…

For the following reasons, the Court finds the following documents are not protected from discovery and shall be produced.

Several pages of documents are simply copies of correspondence from Plaintiff’s counsel to attorneys Spragins and Lewis, and are not protected from disclosure.

These documents are pages BOSR00000004PRIV; BOSR00000006PRIV; the bottom portion of BOSR00000007PRIV through BOSR00000008PRIV; BOSR00000011PRIV; bottom of BOSR00000012PRIV through BOSR00000014PRIV; the bottom of BOSR00000015 PRIV through BOSR00000016PRIV; bottom of BOSR00000017PRIV through
BOSR00000018PRIV; BOSR00000020PRIV; BOSR00000024PRIV; BOSR00000026PRIV; bottom of BOSR00000028PRIV through BOSR00000029PRIV; bottom of BOSR00000031PRIV through BOSR00000032PRIV; BOSR00000035PRIV; bottom of BOSR00000038PRIV through BOSR00000039PRIV; bottom of BOSR00000040PRIV through BOSR00000042PRIV; BOSR00000044PRIV.

BOSR00000005PRIV and BOSR00000045PRIV through BOSR00000048PRIV, and the emails on pages BOSR00000047EM through BOSR00000050EM appear to be correspondence generated in the ordinary course of business and are not protected from disclosure.

The documents with pages numbered BOSR00000016EM through BOSR00000019EM and BOSR00000030EM through BOSR00000033EM appear to be identical copies of a prior draft of the documents numbered BOSR00000010EM through BOSR00000015EM and BOSR00000023EM through BOSR00000027EM, the latter two also being identical to one another.

These documents are a re-evaluation summary of Plaintiff’s loss upon which State Farm based an offer to Plaintiff. That being the case, the Court sees no reason why these documents should be protected as prepared in anticipation of litigation.

The emails on BOSR00000020EM, BOSR00000022EM, BOSR00000028EM, BOSR00000034EM, the statement of loss on BOSR00000029EM and the interest calculation on BOSR00000035EM are likewise directly related to the reevaluation and offer, and will also be held discoverable.

And thirty more for the Afro twist…

It is therefore, ORDERED that by August 7, 2009, State Farm shall produce to Plaintiff all documents which the Court has herein held not protected from discovery.

stompin’ down the aisle?

Will we see Judge Walker stompin’ down the aisle at the indisputable evidence State Farm used claims of privilege to shield information about the Company’s handling of a claim?

I can’t imagine he was pleased to see that – or to find himself and his staff working as State Farm’s secretarial pool but someone had to organize the documents and identify duplicates before he could conduct his review.

Then again, you never know if someone likes to dance the boogaloo shing-a-ling or just twist.

7 thoughts on “boogaloo shing-a-ling Judge Walker orders State Farm to dance with Boosier”

  1. I’ve seen production from State Farm (and other ins. companies) thrown into a box with no organization to it whatsoever….but to do it to a Judge? Not smart.

    State Farm obviously gave Judge Walker alot to go through – that’s bad enough – but to have to go through DUPLICATES is not a good thing – and for Jdg. Walker to tell State Farm from now on, if yall want to claim a document privileged, you run it by the Court first. CHALK ANOTHER ONE UP FOR THE PLAINTIFF (it’s the way it should be anyway).

    And my personal favorite part of this is:

    “The privilege claimed for all the documents reviewed by the Court is

  2. Shirley, you are an absolute godsend with your eagle eye. I’m working on another Bossier post and something you noticed and pointed out is exceedingly important and just what I needed. I won’t be much longer. See if you can find your jewel of information when I get the post up!

  3. ok, Nowdy, it’s 1:38 a.m….you said it wouldn’t be much longer for your Bossier post. 🙂 I’m getting grumpy & tired, but I’ll wait until 2 cuz now curiosity’s got the case…I mean the cat. 🙂

    See – I’m not making sense already.


  4. Unfortunately, the Judge’s decision is what lawyers call a “non-talking opinion”. He doesn’t describe the “protected” documents or “tell” us anything about why he decided that they were “protected”. Even communications between a SF Adjuster and a SF lawyer might not be “protected” if the communications were shared or disclosed to third-parties, Renfroe or SF experts, for instance. In such a case, the attorney-client privilege would (and should) be deemed to have been waived by SF. We really don’t know precisely what the Judge has protected and why, which is a goddamned shame.

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