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Click here for the full text of this decision FACTS:Following a car accident, Jorge Karim and Teresita Manllo jointly sued the other driver Sang Cho, her insurance carrier Allstate County Mutual Insurance Co., and insurance adjuster David Gonzalez. The plaintiffs sent the insurer and its adjuster a total of 89 requests for production, 59 interrogatories and 65 requests for admission, including requests for: transcripts of all testimony ever given by any Allstate agent on the topic of insurance; every court order finding Allstate wrongfully adjusted the value of a damaged vehicle; personnel files of every Allstate employee that a Texas court determined had wrongfully assessed the value of a damaged vehicle; and legal instruments documenting Allstate’s status as a corporation and its net worth. Allstate and Gonzalez objected to the discovery and moved for summary judgment on the ground that the plaintiffs had no direct action against a third party’s insurer. The trial court denied the summary judgment, rejected the objections and ordered the defendants to respond to all the requests. The 13th Court of Appeals denied mandamus relief without explanation. HOLDING:The court conditionally granted the petition for a writ of mandamus. Discovery, the court stated, is a tool to make the trial process more focused, not a weapon to make it more expensive. Thus, trial courts “must make an effort to impose reasonable discovery limits.” Instead, the court found that the trial court “refused to impose any limit on the plaintiffs’ 213 discovery requests” despite much of this discovery having no relation or relevance to the scope of the parties’ dispute. The plaintiffs, the court stated, made no effort to justify their hundreds of requests. Discovery orders requiring document production from an unreasonably long time period or from distant and unrelated locales are impermissibly overbroad. In this case, the court stated, the plaintiffs’ requests were overbroad as to time, location and scope and could easily have been more narrowly tailored to the dispute at hand. More important, the court stated, the plaintiffs’ requests and the trial court’s order reflect a misunderstanding about relevance, particularly character evidence. While such evidence, the court stated, might be discoverable in some cases, “it is hard to see why reneging on some other settlement offer makes it more or less probable that the insurer reneged on this one.” Given the limited scope of the plaintiffs’ claims and the amount at issue, the court held that the trial court erred by compelling discovery of “everything the plaintiffs could imagine asking in any unfair insurance practice case.” Accordingly, without hearing oral argument, the court conditionally granted the writ of mandamus and directed the trial court to vacate its discovery order and reconsider the scope of permissible discovery in light of the court’s opinion. OPINION:Per curiam.

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