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Helen Taylor, As Special Administrator of the v. Pilot Travel Centers

February 8, 2011

HELEN TAYLOR, AS SPECIAL ADMINISTRATOR OF THE ESTATE OF GEORGE TAYLOR, DECEASED, PLAINTIFF,
v.
PILOT TRAVEL CENTERS, LLC, DEFENDANT.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Karen E. Schreier Chief Judge

Plaintiff, Helen Taylor as special administrator*fn1 of the estate of George Taylor, filed a wrongful death suit against defendant, Pilot Travel Centers, LLC, alleging negligence. Helen seeks compensatory and punitive damages. The parties are now in the discovery stage of litigation. Helen moves to compel certain discovery from Pilot and for sanctions. Pilot resists the motion. The motion to compel is granted in part.

Pilot moves for summary judgment. Helen resists the motion and contends that she needs additional time to complete discovery. The motion for summary judgment is denied without prejudice. ORDER

BACKGROUND

In the light most favorable to Pilot, the nonmoving party, the pertinent facts to this order are as follows: George died on August 23, 2009, after being struck by a vehicle while he was in Pilot's truck stop located at 5301 North Cliff Avenue, Sioux Falls, South Dakota. Helen alleges that Pilot owed George a duty to have adequate lighting in its parking lot and that its breach of this duty caused George's death.

During discovery, Helen served Pilot with a first set of interrogatories, which sought information about the death of Gregory Zuba, who was also allegedly struck by an automobile and died in Pilot's parking lot at the 5301 North Cliff Avenue center about four years earlier. Interrogatory number 5 asks:

Did you or your insurer conduct an investigation of the death of Gregory Zuba on your lot? If so, please state:

(a) Who participated in the investigation;

(b) Title of each person who participated in the investigation;

(c) Current titles of each person who participated in the investigation;

(d) What was done to investigate his death;

(e) What, if anything, was done by the Defendant to change anything on its lot after receiving the results of the investigation;

(f) Why the changes referred to in paragraph (e) above were made; and

(g) If no changes were made on your lot after receiving the results of the investigation, why no changes were made.

Docket 15 at 2. Pilot refused to answer:

Defendant objects to the extent this Interrogatory seeks information that is neither admissible nor calculated to lead to the discovery of admissible evidence. Defendant further objects to this Interrogatory to the extent it seeks information protected by the attorney-client privilege, the work product doctrine, or otherwise constitutes information developed specifically in anticipation of litigation.

Docket 15 at 2. Helen also made a request for production of documents relating to Zuba's death: "Produce any and all documents related to the death of Gregory Zuba at Pilot Truck Stop on or about November 9, 2005." Docket 15 at 2, Request Number 5. Pilot objected: "Defendant objects to the production of documents in this interrogatory as seeking information that is not relevant or calculated to lead to the discovery of admissible ...


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