Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

Felix v. U.S. Attorney General

United States District Court, E.D. North Carolina, Northern Division

June 11, 2019

DANIEL FELIX and CHRISTINE HUTTEN, Plaintiffs,
v.
US ATTORNEY GENERAL; IAT INSURANCE GROUP; OCCIDENTAL FIRE AND CASUALTY COMPANY OF NC; SERVICE INSURANCE COMPANY; and DAVID PIRRUNG, Defendants.

          ORDER

          James E. Gates, United States Magistrate Judge.

         This case comes before the court on a motion (D.E. 38) by defendant Service Insurance Company ("Service") to compel entry on and inspection of land pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P. 34. Plaintiffs Daniel Felix and Christine Hutten (collectively "plaintiffs") filed a response (D.E. 39), objecting in part to Service's motion. The motion was referred to the undersigned for determination. D.E. 40. For the reasons stated below, Service's motion will be allowed in part and denied in part.

         BACKGROUND

         I. PLAINTIFFS' CLAIMS

         Plaintiffs commenced the instant litigation on 10 July 2018, relating to a flood insurance policy obtained by plaintiffs from Service. Compl. ¶ 1. Plaintiffs' claim under the flood insurance policy arose from damages to plaintiffs' home in October 2016 resulting from flooding due to Hurricane Matthew. Id. ¶ 5. Plaintiffs reported a loss of $62, 389.51 to Service, but allege that Service paid out a total of only $21, 284.33, relying on the purportedly erroneous conclusion that the first floor of the home was not above the area's base flood level. Id. ¶ 5.

         Plaintiffs assert claims for full payment of flood damages to their home and allege that Service has engaged in fraudulent practices depriving them of their rights under the policy. Id. ¶ 7. Service denies the material allegations in plaintiffs complaint. See generally Service's Ans. (D.E. 16). On 7 January 2019, the court granted plaintiffs leave to amend their complaint to add damages claims arising from the denial of the flood insurance claim (D.E. 37), but no amended complaint has been filed.

         II. RELEVANT CASE HISTORY

         The court entered a Scheduling Order (D.E. 36) on 7 January 2019. The Scheduling Order provided for the completion of all fact discovery by 6 May 2019 and expert discovery by 8 July 2019. Sch. Ord. ¶ 3. It also contemplated inspection of plaintiffs' property and provided that "[a]bsent stipulation by the parties pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P. 29(b), defendant shall seek to inspect the premises at issue in this case by a request pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P. 34(a)(2), subject to subsequent motion practice, if necessary." Id. ¶ 4.

         On 12 March 2019, Service requested that plaintiffs permit an inspection of the home by an engineer to opine whether the home should be classified as an elevated or non-elevated building. 12 Mar. 2019 Email (D.E. 38-7). Plaintiffs requested that certain conditions be met before allowing the inspection, which Service would not agree to. Service responded by filing the instant motion.

         DISCUSSION

         I. APPLICABLE LEGAL STANDARDS FOR INSPECTION

         The Federal Civil Rules enable parties to obtain information by serving requests for discovery on each other, including requests to permit entry on land to "inspect, measure, survey, photograph, test, or sample the property or any designated object or operation on it." Fed.R.Civ.P. 34(a)(2); see generally Fed. R. Civ. P. 26-37. Rule 26(b) provides for a broad scope of discovery:

Unless otherwise limited by court order, the scope of discovery is as follows: Parties may obtain discovery regarding any nonprivileged matter that is relevant to any party's claim or defense and proportional to the needs of the case, considering the importance of the issues at stake in the action, the amount in controversy, the parties' relative access to relevant information the parties' resources, the importance of the discovery in resolving the issues, and whether the burden or expense of the proposed ...

Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.