Deposing Insurance Representative

Most insurance lawyers will want to depose an insurance company representative not long after a lawsuit is filed.  This situation arose in recent a Corpus Christi Court of Appeals case.  The opinion is styled, In Re Safeco Insurance Company Of America.  There is a glaring problem with this opinion.  It does not discuss the underlying reasons for wanting to take the deposition of the insurance company corporate representative.  There is no discussion of the merits or lack thereof in the underlying case.  What is does illustrate is the power of the courts to allow the deposition even when the insurance company does not want the deposition to be allowed.  It also discusses the elements that are looked at in reaching a determination.

By petition for writ of mandamus, Safeco seeks to vacate the trial court’s order granting a motion to compel the deposition of its corporate representative.  This Court requested and received a response to the petition from the real party in interest, Marvin Bryant.  The writ was denied.

Mandamus is an extraordinary remedy.  Mandamus relief is proper to correct a clear abuse of discretion when there is no adequate remedy by appeal.  The relator bears the burden of proving both of these requirements.

An abuse of discretion occurs when the trial court’s ruling is arbitrary and unreasonable or is made without regard for guiding legal principles or supporting evidence.  A court determines the adequacy of an appellate remedy by balancing the benefits of mandamus review against the detriments.  For the purposes of this case, a discovery order that compels production “beyond the rules of procedure” is an abuse of discretion for which mandamus is the proper remedy.

This Court having examined and fully considered the petition for writ of mandamus, the response, and the applicable law, is of the opinion that relator has not shown itself entitled to the relief sought.  Accordingly, the petition for writ of mandamus is denied.

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