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Downie v. State Farm Fire and Casualty Co.

January 13, 1997

THOMAS DOWNIE, AN INDIVIDUAL, APPELLANT,
v.
STATE FARM FIRE AND CASUALTY COMPANY, RESPONDENT.



Appeal from Superior Court of King County. Docket No: 94-2-05710-3. Date filed: 08/28/95. Judge signing: Hon. Liem E. Tuai.

Petition for Review Denied June 3, 1997,

Authored by William W. Baker. Concurring: Walter E. Webster, Susan R. Agid.

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Baker

BAKER, C.J. - Thomas Downie's insurance policy against loss of personal property required him to give an examination under oath (EUO) upon request before suing his insurance carrier. He submitted a claim and gave two recorded interviews to different adjustors, but refused to submit to the requested EUO.

Because a recorded statement given to an adjustor is not equivalent to an EUO, we hold that such a statement does not constitute substantial compliance with the policy. Moreover, we hold that an insurance policy requiring an EUO as a condition precedent to filing suit is not against public policy and is a valid, enforceable contract provision. Downie did not meet a valid condition precedent to filing this action; therefore, the trial court did not err in granting State Farm summary judgment as a matter of law. We affirm.

FACTS

Downie obtained a personal articles protection policy from State Farm. While the policy was in force, Downie claimed that he lost a Rolex watch and a diamond ring when he left the articles in a bag in an airplane's overhead storage compartment. The policy insured these items.

The policy specifically addressed the procedures after a loss as follows:

7. Your Duties After Loss. In case a covered loss occurs, you must:

b. report as soon as practicable in writing to us or our agent any loss . . . which may become a claim under this policy .

. .; and c. file with us or our agent, within 90 days after discovery of the loss, a signed sworn proof of loss. This will state the facts and amount of the loss to the best of your knowledge.

8. Examination Under Oath. You agree:

a. to be examined under oath and subscribe to the same as often as we reasonably require; [and]

d. to produce such records as we may need to verify the claim and its amount, and to permit copies of such ...


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