Monday, October 5, 2015

Recent Post-Koken Discovery Decisions Out of Lackawanna County

Updating on Post-Koken discovery matters, it is noted that there were no two recent Orders out of the Lackawanna County Court of Common Pleas in which the depositions of claims representatives were compelled by Court Order issued by a Special Trial Master.

While these decisions are not precedential, they do provide insight on how Special Trial Master Burke will handle such issues. 

The cases are Culkin v. Sciandra and Liberty Mutual, and Safeco, No. 2559-Civil-2014 (C.P. Lacka. Co. May 4, 2015 Burke, Special Trial Master); and

Carlson v. Scarantino and First Liberty Insurance, No. 2014-Civil-7786 (C.P. Lacka. Co. Aug. 27, 2015 Burke, Special Trial Master).

In the Carlson decision, the Special Trial Master for discovery motions court in Lackawanna County ruled that the scope of the deposition of the claims representative would be limited to questions pertaining to the claims representative’s objective knowledge of the fact pertaining to the accident and the Plaintiff’s alleged injuries. The Plaintiff was precluded from deposing the claims representative as to her mental impressions, conclusions, or opinions regarding the value or merit of the claims or defenses, or regarding strategy or tactics. The Plaintiff is also precluded from deposing the claims adjuster regarding the process and procedures by which the insurance company handled and is handling the Plaintiff’s UIM claim as well as other claims.

No such specific restrictions are seen in the Order entered in the Culkin case.

Anyone wishing to review a copy of these Orders, without any Opinions, may contact me at

I send thanks to Attorney Neil O’Donnell of the O’Donnell Law Offices in Kingston, Pennsylvania for providing me with a copy of these Court Orders.

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