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Trinidad v. Metropolitan Property and Casualty Insurance Co.

United States District Court, Ninth Circuit

December 19, 2013

OSCAR TRINIDAD and SUSAN TRINIDAD, husband and wife, Plaintiffs,
v.
METROPOLITAN PROPERTY AND CASUALTY INSURANCE COMPANY, Defendant.

ORDER GRANTING IN PART AND DENYING IN PART DEFENDANT'S MOTION AND RENOTING PLAINTIFFS' MOTION

BENJAMIN H. SETTLE, District Judge.

This matter comes before the Court on Defendant Metropolitan Property And Casualty Insurance Company's ("Metropolitan") motion for summary judgment (Dkt. 9) and Plaintiffs Oscar and Susan Trinidad's ("Trinidads") motion for summary judgment (Dkt. 15). The Court has considered the pleadings filed in support of and in opposition to the motions and the remainder of the file and hereby grants in part and denies in part Metropolitan's motion and renotes the Trinidads' motions for the reasons stated herein.

I. PROCEDURAL HISTORY

On February 13, 2013, the Trinidads filed a complaint against Metropolitan in King County Superior Court for the State of Washington. Dkt 1. The Trinidads assert claims for (1) violations of the Washington Insurance Fair Conduct Act, WAC 284-30 et seq., (2) violations of the Washington Consumer Protection Act, RCW Chapter 19.86, (3) bad faith, and (4) breach of duty to defend. Id. Exh. 1.

On March 13, 2013, Metropolitan removed the matter to this Court. Id.

On October 31, 2013, Metropolitan filed a motion for summary judgment. Dkt. 9. On November 18, 2013, the Trinidads responded. Dkt. 11. On November 21, 2013, the Trinidads filed a motion for partial summary judgment. Dkt. 15. On November 22, 2013, Metropolitan replied. Dkt. 18. On December 6, 2013, Metropolitan responded to the Trinidads' motion. Dkt. 20. On December 13, 2013, the Trinidads replied. Dkt. 22.

II. FACTUAL BACKGROUND

This lawsuit arises out of the Trinidads' insurance claim they submitted to Metropolitan and request for defense. On May 7, 2010, the Trinidads filed a lawsuit in state court against their neighbors for malicious harassment, outrage, negligent infliction of emotional distress, intentional interference with a business relationship, defamation and nuisance. The neighbors filed a counterclaim against the Trinidads contending that they had engaged in a pattern of surveillance and made false accusations against the neighbors. The subsequent undisputed timeline is as follows:

• A counterclaim was served on the Trinidads on or about 5/26/10.
• A claim and request for defense was tendered to their insurer, MetLife, on 6/1/10.
• The claim was assigned to Bette-Jon Schrade of MetLife on 6/2/10.
• Ms. Schrade spoke with Mr. Wathen, the Trinidads' attorney on the underlying litigation, on June 3, 2010.
• Also on June 3, 2010, Attorney Jack Rankin was contacted by MetLife to conduct a claims ...

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