This week, the First Department in <em>Dabo v. One Hudson Yards Owner, LLC</em>, reversed a ruling from the Supreme Court, effectively reaffirming that an insurer’s claim file, including investigative reports, is immune from disclosure in discovery when same were prepared in anticipation of litigation against its insured.
In the underlying personal injury action, the defendants had moved pursuant to CPLR 3103 for a protective order barring plaintiff from obtaining the accident reports prepared by its insurer. The trial court ruled that the documents should not be accorded privilege from disclosure under a protective order, even if they had been prepared solely for the purpose of litigation, because the defendants had not demonstrated that such reports had not been prepared by the insurer in the regular course of the insurance company’s business.
Defendants appealed and one year later the appellate division unanimously reversed, reiterating the general rule in New York that documents in an insurer’s claim file, including investigative reports, that were prepared for litigation against its insured are immune from disclosure.
As insurers (and their counsel) breathe a collective sigh of relief that the disclosure requirements of claims file have not, in fact, been significantly eroded, insurers must always proceed with caution when faced with discovery demands calling for its reports and files.
Thank you to Vivian Turetsky for her contribution to this post. Please email <a href="mailto:email@example.com">Colleen E. Hayes</a> with any questions.