Insurer Allowed to Dig Through Tax Returns to Prove Fraud

Pinto v. Markel Ins. Co. (S.D. Fla.; May 15, 2014)

After an insurance claim for the death of a prized race horse, the defendant-insurer argued that the policyholders should be ordered to produce personal and corporate tax returns because they are relevant to the affirmative defenses asserted, namely that the policyholder committed fraud in connection with the claim at issue. The defendant sought the financial information to explore a motive to support its affirmative defense, which is based on the theories that a different horse died, that the death was not from natural causes, or was not really owned by the plaintiff. The court agreed and allowed the defendants access to the tax returns in order to support their fraud claims.