Maddox v. Grauman

CourtUnited States State Supreme Court (Kentucky)
Writing for the CourtSTEWART
Citation265 S.W.2d 939,41 A.L.R.2d 964
PartiesMADDOX v. GRAUMAN, Judge.
Decision Date12 March 1954

John P. Ryan, Fielden Woodward, Boehl, Stopher, Kilgarriff, Graves & Deindoerfer, Louisville, for petitioner.

Edward A. Dodd, Ollie James Cohen, Smith & Smith, Robert E. Hogan, E. P. Sawyer, Wm. Loraine Mix, Hargadon, Lemaire & Hargadon, Wm. A. Miller, Louisville, for respondent.

STEWART, Justice.

This is an original action under RCA 1.420.

On December 28, 1952, Billy J. Montgomery, a passenger in an automobile driven by petitioner, Lewis R. Maddox, was injured when the vehicle skidded on an icy street in Louisville and struck a utility pole. Montgomery filed a tort action against Maddox and another defendant, Peacock Coal Company. The liability of the latter is predicated upon its alleged negligence in permitting water from its premises to accumulate and freeze on the street where the accident occurred, making it slick and unsafe for travel.

Pursuant to CR 26.01 counsel for Montgomery and the co-defendant, Peacock Coal Company, proceeded on discovery to take the pre-trial deposition of Maddox. In the course of the examination, the following questions were asked:

'350. Q. Do you have public liability insurance?

'351. Q. Who is your insurance carrier?

'352. Q. What are the policy limits with respect to the maximum amount payable to any one person injured, or with respect to any one accident?'

Maddox's counsel objected to each question and instructed the witness not to answer. When the questions were certified to the Honorable Lawrence S. Grauman, before whom the action is pending in the Jefferson Circuit Court and who is the respondent herein, he ruled that the questions were within the scope of the examination and petitioner was ordered to answer them. Upon petitioner's refusal so to do, he found Maddox guilty of contempt under the authority of CR 37.03 but withheld execution of any punishment pending a final ruling of this Court.

The only issue raised in this action is: Must the defendant in an automobile negligence case in a pre-trial deposition for the purpose of discovery state whether or not he is insured and, if so, disclose the name of his insurance company and the limits of liability provided by his policy? Petitioner contends respondent in requiring him to answer these questions is proceeding erroneously within the jurisdiction of his court and great and irreparable injury will occur to him with the result that he will be without an adequate remedy by appeal or otherwise.

The disposition of this proceeding requires us to determine whether the inquiry is within the scope of examination contained in CR 26.02, which reads: 'Unless otherwise ordered by the court as provided by Rule 30.02 or 30.04, the deponent may be examined regarding any matter, not privileged, which is relevant to the subject matter involved in the pending action, whether it relates to the claim or defense of the examining party or to the claim or defense of any other party, including the existence, description, nature, custody, condition and location of any books, documents, or other tangible things and the identity and location of persons having knowledge of relevant facts. It is not ground for objection that the testimony will be inadmissible at the trial if the testimony sought appears reasonably calculated to lead to the discovery of admissible evidence.'

These grounds are advanced as reasons why petitioner should not be compelled to respond to the questions: They are not relevant to the subject matter involved in the pending action; they do not relate to the claim or defense of any party to the action; and they are not 'reasonably calculated to lead to the discovery of admissible evidence.'

Rule 26.02 is substantially identical with Rule 26(b) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, 28 U.S.C.A. See 2 Barron & Holtzoff, Federal Practice and Procedure (Rules Edition), Section 641, page 26; 2 Moore's Federal Practice (Second Edition), Part V, Chapter 26, page 1001. This Rule constitutes an innovation in Kentucky practice and, because of this fact, we are without precedent to guide us in its application. The Rule extends the scope of the examination to a non-party witness as well as to an adverse party. Some of the main purposes of this particular Rule are to permit, prior to trial: (1) the narrowing of the issues by eliminating matters about which there is no real controversy, (2) the securing of information with respect to the existence of evidence which may be used at the trial, and (3) the obtention...

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41 cases
  • Mosca v. Pensky
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court (New York)
    • 19 Enero 1973
    ...v. Welch, Supra, 289 A.2d at 152). In short, relevancy is more loosely construed at preliminary stages than at trial (Maddox v. Grauman, 265 S.W.2d 939 (Ky.)). Some courts favor disclosure on the ground that plaintiff may learn something that would aid him in the prosecution of the action (......
  • Lucas v. District Court of Pueblo County in Tenth Judicial Dist., 18859
    • United States
    • Colorado Supreme Court of Colorado
    • 9 Marzo 1959
    ...been adopted in the following cases: People ex rel. Terry v. Fisher, supra, 1957, 12 Ill.2d 231, 145 N.E.2d 588; Maddox v. Grauman, Ky., 265 S.W.2d 939, 41 A.L.R.2d 964; Brackett v. Woodall Food Products, D.C., 12 F.R.D. 4; Orgel v. McCurdy, D.C.S.D.N.Y., 8 F.R.D. 585; Demaree v. Superior C......
  • Great Am. Ins. Co. v. Murray, B--1170
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of Texas
    • 29 Enero 1969
    ...County, 140 Colo. 510, 345 P.2d 1064 (1959); People ex rel. Terry v. Fisher, 12 Ill.2d 231, 145 N.E.2d 588 (1957); Maddox v. Grauman, 265 S.W.2d 939, 41 A.L.R.2d 964 (Ky.1954); Ellis v. Gilbert, 19 Utah 2d 189, 429 P.2d 39 The Federal District Courts are in confusion, but most of the decisi......
  • Terminal Transport Company v. Berry, 12027.
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (6th Circuit)
    • 29 Noviembre 1954
    ...S.W. 2d 1006; Bybee v. Shanks, Ky., 253 S.W. 2d 257. See Ideal Pure Milk Co. v. Whitaker, Ky., 243 S.W.2d 479; Maddox v. Grauman, Ky., 265 S.W.2d 939, 942, decided March 12, However, as appellee points out, the rule is by no means absolute, and it is as equally well settled that under certa......
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