In Jacoby v. Hartford, 254 F.R.D. 477 (S.D.N.Y. 2009), the Federal District in New York City ordered Hartford to produce thousands of pages of documents pertaining to Hartford’s inherent conflict of interest. Rejecting Hartford’s claims of confidentiality and burdensomeness, the Court ordered Hartford to respond to plaintiff’s interrogatories and document demands, including the full production of Hartford’s BMS Claims Manual and SIU Reference Manual. The Court also rejected Hartford’s claim that documents held by its consulting firms Medical Advisory Group and University Disability Consortium were not within its “possession, custody or control.”
This decision is a valuable precedent because it provides a possible solution to the dilemma of being whipsawed between the insurance company and its consultants. When seeking documents, each entity claims that the other has the sole duty of producing the requested documents. In this case, the Court rejected Hartford's assertion that the documents held by its consultants, Medical Advisory Group and University Disability Consortium were outside Hartford's control. The Court ordered Hartford to use its influence with its consultants to obtain the requested documents. The Court held:
In these circumstances, Hartford is directed to cause the production of the requested materials that are in the hands of UDC and MAG. Should it fail to do so, and should plaintiff press the point, a hearing concerning the relationships between Hartford and each of these entities and the nature of Hartford's efforts to secure their cooperation could prove necessary.