SHIRLEY D'AMICO, Individually and as Executrix for the ESTATE OF FRANK D'AMICO, Plaintiff,
A.O. SMITH CORPORATION, et al., Defendants.
County Superior Court.
Plaintiff: Vincent L. Greene, IV, Esq.; Robert J. McConnell,
Esq.; Donald A. Migliori, Esq.
Defendant: Brian D. Gross, Esq.; Andrew R. McConville, Esq.
Defendant-Grover S. Wormer Company (the Defendant or Grover
Wormer) and Plaintiff Shirley D'Amico (the Plaintiff)
presented oral argument before this Court on June 26, 2017.
At that hearing, the Defendant brought its motion for summary
judgment under Super. R. Civ. P. 56, but the parties also
provided argument regarding discovery issues. The Plaintiff
moved the Court to compel discovery regarding Defendant's
insurer, who retained defense counsel to bring and argue the
motion for summary judgment originally before the Court.
Since a critical portion of the arguments related to
discovery issues, this Court will treat the arguments as a
Motion to Compel pursuant to Super. R. Civ. P. 37.
Plaintiff asks this Court to compel the name and information
of Defendant's insurer-an insurer that retained counsel
in order to bring and argue a motion for summary judgment.
The Plaintiff contends that such information is necessary for
the Plaintiff to assess whether or not a valid, direct claim
exists against the insurer. Further, the Plaintiff maintains
that such information is needed for her to properly brief
arguments regarding potential liability of the insurer and
whether such a claim against the insurer of a dissolved
company is allowed under Rhode Island law.
argument, defense counsel stated that he was retained by the
unnamed insurer to bring a motion for summary judgment on
Grover Wormer's behalf. Defense counsel maintains that
the Plaintiff's request to compel the information of the
insurer should be denied because such discovery is irrelevant
and not reasonably calculated to lead to the discovery of
admissible evidence. Further, defense counsel argues that
Plaintiff's direct claims against the insurer are not
legally tenable under Rhode Island law and therefore, the
request for the name and information of said insurer should
trial court is afforded broad discretion in handling
discovery requests. Pastore v. Samson, 900 A.2d
1067, 1073-74 (R.I. 2006) (citing Cullen v. Town Council
of Lincoln, 850 A.2d 900, 903 (R.I. 2004)). Underlying
our discovery rules is the philosophy that "prior to
trial, all data relevant to the pending controversy should be
disclosed unless the data is privileged." Cabral v.
Arruda, 556 A.2d 47, 48 (R.I. 1989) (citing 8 Wright
& Miller, Federal Practice and Procedure, Civil
§ 2001 at 15 (1970)). Rhode Island Rules of Civil
Procedure 26(b)(1) states that, in general, the scope of
discovery should be limited to matters "relevant to the
subject matter involved in the pending action[.]" Super.
R. Civ. P. 26(b)(1). Additionally, Rule 26(b)(1) states that
"[i]t is not ground for objection that the information
sought will be inadmissible at the trial if the information
sought appears reasonably calculated to lead to the discovery
of admissible evidence." See id.