United States District Court, D. Minnesota
Soo Line Railroad Company, doing business as Canadian Pacific, Plaintiff/Counter Defendant,
The Travelers Indemnity Company, Defendant/Third-Party Plaintiff/Counter Defendant,
Continental Insurance Company, as successor in interest to certain policies issued by Harbor Insurance Company, Third-Party Defendant/Counter Claimant.
G. Boylan, Joseph W. Anthony, and Norman H. Pentelovitch,
Anthony Ostlund Baer & Louwagie PA, 90 South Seventh
Street, Suite 3600, Minneapolis, MN 55402 (for Soo Line
Woodworth, Meagher & Geer, PLLP, 33 South Sixth Street,
Suite 4400, Minneapolis, MN 55402; Craig Russell Blackman and
Samuel J. Arena, Jr., Stradley Ronon Stevens & Young,
LLP, 2005 Market Street, Suite 2600, Philadelphia, PA 19103;
and William T. Mandia, I, Stradley Ronon Stevens & Young,
LLP, 457 Haddonfield Road, Suite 100, Cherry Hill, N.J. 08002
(for The Travelers Indemnity Company); and Andrea E. Reisbord
and Janine M. Loetscher, Bassford Remele, 100 South Fifth
Street, Suite 1500, Minneapolis, MN 55402 (for Continental
N. Leung United States Magistrate Judge
matter comes before the Court on The Travelers Indemnity
Company's (“Travelers”) Motion to Compel
Discovery and to Extend Case Deadlines (ECF No. 39). A
hearing was held on April 10, 2019. Arthur G. Boylan and
Norman H. Pentelovitch appeared on behalf of Soo Line
Railroad Company (“Soo Line”). William T. Mandia,
I, and Amy J. Woodworth appeared on behalf of Travelers.
Andrea E. Reisbord appeared on behalf of Continental
Insurance Company (“Continental”).
an insurance coverage dispute regarding environmental
contamination in connection with certain property known as
the Shoreham Yard, located in Minneapolis, Minnesota, which
“has been operated as a railyard since the late
1880s.” (Compl. ¶ 3, ECF No. 1-1.) As alleged in
the Complaint, “[a]ccidental, repeated, and continuous
spills and leaks, which occurred in the course of the
historical operations at [the] Shoreham Yard, have resulted
in soil and groundwater contamination both on and off
site.” (Compl. ¶ 3; see Compl.
¶¶ 30-34.) “Contaminated groundwater plumes
currently extend nearly two miles off-site from the east side
of the property and more than a mile off site from the
west.” (Compl. ¶ 3; see Compl. ¶.)
Line alleges that, as of December 31, 2016, it has
“paid approximately $50 million” in losses and
legal expenses in connection with third-party property
damage. (Comp. ¶ 5; see Compl. ¶¶
37-38.) Soo Line “expects to spend tens of millions
more . . . in the years to come.” (Compl. ¶ 5;
see Compl. ¶ 38.) Soo Line alleges that
Travelers is obligated to indemnify it for
“Travelers'[s] proportionate share” of these
losses and legal expenses under two policies issued by
Travelers in or around the late 1960s and early 1970s.
(Compl. ¶ 43; see Compl. ¶¶ 6, 16-19,
46-51.) Travelers has brought in Continental, contending that
Continental is liable to Soo Line for part of the coverage
period at issue under another policy issued to Soo Line in
the early 1970s. (See generally Third Party Compl.,
ECF No. 13.)
brings the instant motion, taking issue with certain of Soo
Line's discovery responses and seeking to extend the
deadlines in the Pretrial Scheduling Order (ECF No.
general, “[p]arties 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 .
. . .” Fed.R.Civ.P. 26(b)(1). “Information within
this scope of discovery need not be admissible in evidence to
be discoverable.” Id. “Relevance is
construed broadly at the discovery stage.” Heilman
v. Waldron, 287 F.R.D. 467, 473 (D. Minn. 2012).
Nonetheless, some threshold showing is necessary
“before parties are required to open wide the doors of
discovery and to produce a variety of information which does
not reasonably bear upon the issues in the case.”
Hofer v. Mack Trucks, Inc., 981 F.2d 377, 380 (8th
Cir. 1992). Under Rule 37, “[a] party seeking discovery
may move for an order compelling an answer, designation,
production, or inspection.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 37(a)(3)(B).
This Court “has considerable discretion in granting or
denying discovery requests.” Bredemus v. Int'l
Paper Co., 252 F.R.D. 529, 534 (D. Minn. 2008).
Interrogatory Nos. 5 and 7
Interrogatory Nos. 5 and 7 seek information regarding legal
expenses and related costs incurred by Soo Line as well as an
estimate of future costs Soo Line anticipates it will incur
in connection with environmental contamination at the
before Travelers filed this motion, the parties met and
conferred and Soo Line agreed to supplement its responses to
these interrogatories. (Travelers's Mem. in Supp. at 10,
14 n.3, ECF No. 41; Soo Line's Mem. in Opp'n at 11,
ECF No. 46.) At the hearing, the parties largely agreed that
this dispute was resolved except for Travelers's concerns
regarding ongoing production and the resultant impact on
existing deadlines in this matter.
Court will take up the issue of scheduling in Section II.B
infra. Otherwise, the Court concludes that any
dispute as to Soo Line's responses to Interrogatory Nos.
5 and 7 is premature and Travelers's motion is denied
without prejudice with respect to Interrogatory Nos. 5 and 7.
Interrogatory No. 10
Interrogatory No. 10 requests information related to certain
statements made in regulatory filings by Canadian Pacific
Railway Ltd., Soo Line's parent company:
Identify all Persons that participated in the drafting of
statements regarding environmental liability and/or damages
at the Site contained in Canadian Pacific Railway Ltd.'s
10K Annual Statements in 2016 and 2017 and/or 10Q Quarterly
Statements in 2016, 2017, 2018, and Identify all schedules