In a case that is already getting much play on the listserve for the Plaintiff's bar, trial court Judge William Amesbury recently issued a February 1, 2010 Order allowing for a limited deposition of a UIM claims representative in the post-Koken case of Paulewicz v. Fronczkewicz, Bryan, and State Farm, 10655-CIVIL-2009 (Luz. Co. Feb. 1, 2010, Amesbury, J.).
In Paulewicz, the Plaintiff brought negligence claims against the third party tortfeasor owner and driver, as well as an underinsured motorist claim against State Farm under one caption. There was no bad faith claim at issue as any such allegations were stipulated out of the case by the parties for the time being.
When Plaintiff's counsel noted a desire to depose the UIM claims representative, the UIM carrier filed a Motion for a Protective Order to preclude the same.
On February 1, 2010, Judge Amesbury issued an Order denying the Motion and allowing for the deposition of the claims rep to go forward. However, the Judge specifically noted that the Plaintiffs were "precluded from deposing" the UIM claims adjuster "as to his mental impressions, conclusions, or opinions respecting the value or merit of the claim, defenses to the claim, or respecting the strategy or tactics in defense of claims by State Farm...."
Anyone desiring a copy of this Order may contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
UPDATE (Posted October 21, 2013): In two separate Orders without Opinions issued on October 4, 2013, Luzerne County President Judge Thomas F. Burke, Jr., granted Motions for Protective Orders to preclude the deposition of a UIM claims rep in the cases of Garrett v. Griffin and Erie Ins. Exchange and Krzynefski v. Bish and State Farm.
To view the Tort Talk blog posts on these two more recent decisions out of Luzerne County, click this LINK.