Troutman Sanders is fighting a subpoena that would require several of its Washington-based attorneys to testify about work they did for a client in a case pending in Florida federal court.
Attorneys in Troutman’s Washington office are part of a team representing Stamford, Conn.-based Indian Harbor Insurance Company in a coverage dispute with one of Indian Harbor’s former clients. Troutman attorneys were subpoenaed last month to give deposition testimony about work they previously did for Indian Harbor that relates to the underlying dispute.
In a motion to quash (PDF) filed Friday in U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, the firm calls the subpoena a “fishing expedition.”
“The timing of the proposed deposition, in tandem with the blatantly privileged and irrelevant information sought, demonstrates that the Subpoena, rather than being based on compelling need, is really nothing more than a tool to harass and disrupt opposing counsel in order to frustrate discovery,” Troutman attorney Prashant Khetan wrote in the motion.
Khetan and other Troutman attorneys did not immediately return a request for comment today. Indian Harbor, through a spokeswoman for its parent company, XL Group plc, declined to comment.
The underlying case in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida involves a dispute over the extent of liability coverage in the insurance agreement between Indian Harbor and financial advisory company Maplewood Partners LP; the plaintiffs also include Maplewood’s affiliated holding and management companies, all of which are based in Miami-Dade County, Fla. According to Troutman’s motion, discovery is set to end on May 27.
Maplewood has accused (PDF) Indian Harbor of failing to fully reimburse Maplewood for losses it took on in unrelated legal matters, in accordance with its contract. The company is being represented by Dickstein Shapiro and Miami-based Ver Ploeg & Lumpkin. Ver Ploeg & Lumpkin attorney Maria Caldera declined to talk about the case. Neither Maplewood nor Dickstein Shapiro attorneys John Schryber and Jeffrey Schulman could immediately be reached for comment.
On April 22, Maplewood and its attorneys issued a subpoena to depose the Troutman attorneys at Dickstein Shapiro’s Washington office. According to the subpoena (PDF), Maplewood intends to ask Troutman attorneys about counsel they may have given to Indian Harbor when it was assessing coverage for Maplewood, as well as Troutman’s evaluation of litigation Maplewood was involved in that led the company to file claims with Indian Harbor.
Troutman argues that nearly all of the information sought in deposition and document requests is subject to attorney-client privilege and would likely be inadmissible. The firm is also arguing that Maplewood should ask Indian Harbor, and not the attorneys, for any non-privileged information.
The case is before U.S. District Judge Amy Jackson. No court dates had been scheduled as of this afternoon.