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Click here for the full text of this decision FACTS:Baldev and Jayesh Patel filed suit against Nautilus, an insurance company that insured the Wharton Inn during the relevant time period; Gab Robins North America Inc., the adjustor who evaluated damage to the hotel; and Ken Kauffman, Gab Robins’ employee who inspected the hotel. In the suit, the Patels sought recovery for lost income, lost business opportunities and all interior damages to the hotel allegedly caused by a March 13, 2003, hail storm. Nautilus issued a third-party deposition on written questions with a subpoena duces tecum attached to Prosperity Bank demanding the following: “Any and all documents, including but not limited to, any and all bank statements, checks, deposit slips, withdrawal slips, loans, loan applications, property appraisals or any other documents relating to Baldev Patel and/or Baldev Patel d/b/a The Wharton Inn and/or Jayesh Patel, including, but not limited to, Accounts 20567123, 20903849 and any other open or closed accounts.” Nautilus issued a similar notice to Mahesh Desai, the Patels’ accountant, demanding: “Copies of any and all documents relating in any way to Baldev Patel, Jayesh Patel and/or Baldev Patel d/b/a Wharton Inn, including, but not limited to U.S. Income Tax Returns with all accompany [sic] schedules and forms, income statements, balance sheets, financial statements, invoices and other documents supporting any deductions, expenses, or income for 1997 to the present.” The Patels timely objected and filed a motion to quash the depositions on written question requests asserting that the requests were overbroad, irrelevant, not likely to lead to the discovery of admissible evidence, immaterial and protected under the accountant-client privilege found in Texas Occupations Code �901.457. Judge Daniel Richard Sklar of the 329th District Court denied the motion, and the Patels filed a petition for a writ of mandamus. HOLDING:The court denied the petition for a writ of mandamus in part, and conditionally granted it in part. As long as information sought in discovery appears reasonably calculated to lead to the discovery of admissible evidence, it is not a ground for objection that the information sought will be inadmissible at trial, the court stated. An order compelling discovery that is well outside the proper bounds of discovery is reviewable by mandamus. The court first found that Nautilus’ requests were not overbroad. The mere existence, the court stated, of the phrase “any and all” in a discovery request does not violate the specificity requirements of discovery as long as the request is further restricted to a particular type or class of documents. The court then assessed the Patels’ relevancy challenge to the discovery requests. It concluded that Jayesh Patel satisfied his burden, because he had no ownership interest in the hotel. Thus, the court found that the trial court’s ruling regarding the production of documents related to Jayesh “required production beyond what our procedural rules permit.” The court therefore held that the trial court abused its discretion in ordering the production of Jayesh’s documents from Prosperity Bank and Desai. As to Baldev, the court found that the bank and accounting records were relevant to Baldev’s claims of lost rental income and lost business opportunity. “[C]ertainly,” the court stated, “the timing of the cash withdrawals is relevant to substantiate when repairs were made, the cost of the repairs, and even, perhaps, the frequency and payment of insurance payments, which may lead to the identification of other insurance carriers who may have conducted inspections and filed reports on the interior of the Inn’s rooms.” Therefore, the court concluded that Nautilus sought discovery from Prosperity Bank and Desai regarding Baldev that was relevant to Baldev’s claims and reasonably calculated to lead to the discovery of admissible evidence. As for Nautilus’ attempt to discover Baldev’s tax returns, the court found that Nautilus provided no authority to support its contentions that the returns were material to the litigation. Federal income tax returns, the court stated, are not material if the same information can be obtained from another source. Finally, the court addressed the issue of accountant-client privilege. Nautilus, the court stated, did not dispute that such a privilege existed, but argued only that the documents requested from Desai must be disclosed because there was a court order that satisfied the requirements of �901.457. The court agreed, citing the trial court’s Nov. 27, 2006, order denying the Patels’ motion to quash. The court found that the Nov. 27, 2006, order, in effect, ordered the production of the documents held by Desai as identified in the notice from Nautilus, thus, satisfying the requirements outlined above in �901.457. On this basis, the court held that the trial court did not abuse its discretion in allowing discovery of documents in Desai’s possession, except for Baldev’s tax returns and supporting documentation, and all documents that related to Jayesh. OPINION:Rodriguez, J.; Rodriguez, Garza and Benavides, J.J.

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