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Town v. Sentinel Insurance Co., Ltd.

United States District Court, E.D. Michigan, Southern Division

June 19, 2019

MEAT TOWN, Plaintiff,
v.
SENTINEL INSURANCE COMPANY, LTD, Defendant.

          ORDER GRANTING IN PART MOTION TO STRIKE [18]

          LAURIE J. MICHELSON UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.

         Meat Town, a store that stores and sells large quantities of meat, was robbed and vandalized in November 2015 and then a fire victim in December 2015. Following the two incidents, Meat Town submitted two claims to its insurer, Sentinel Insurance Company. Sentinel did not pay on the claims. So Meat Town sued.

         Following discovery, Sentinel moved for summary judgment. Sentinel's motion is largely based on its claim that Meat Town made material misrepresentations in connection with its claims. And the alleged material misrepresentations are supported by affidavits from five people: Allen Cohn, Scott Najor, Jeff Davis, Patrick Tabaczynski, and Alan Must.

         Meat Town asks this Court to strike these five affidavits. (ECF No. 18.)

         To understand why, a bit of background is necessary. Apparently because it was difficult to schedule, the parties agreed to depose Sentinel's Rule 30(b)(6) witness, Kenneth Soyk, after the discovery cutoff, on October 2, 2018. At Soyk's deposition it became clear that Sentinel had sworn statements from certain of Meat Town's vendors that supported Sentinel's decision to deny Meat Town's insurance claims. In particular, this exchange occurred during Soyk's deposition:

[Meat Town's Counsel:] And what information did Sentinel discover between the time the Complaint was filed in this case and this [denial] letter was issued that led to the issuance of this letter?
[Soyk:] That several of the invoices submitted by the vendors-submitted by Mr. Stabley from some of the vendors were-were not accurate.
Q. Okay. Which invoices were those?
A. Invoices from Klaps [sic], Quality Meat, and Dairy Fresh. . . . When we contacted those vendors, they indicated that those invoices weren't from them and they hadn't done any deliveries in quite a while.
Q. Okay. Each of them said that?
A. Yes, sir.
Q. . . . Have any sworn statements from [Kaps, Quality Meats, and Dairy Fresh] been provided to you or to Sentinel?
A. I'm not aware at this time. . . .
MR. HOLTZ [Meat Town's counsel]: I'd request that ...

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