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Metropolitan Propperty & Casuallty Insurance Co. v. McCarthy

United States District Court, W.D. Washington

August 21, 2014

METROPOLITAN PROPERTY AND CASUALTY INSURANCE COMPANY, Plaintiff,
v.
PATRICK J. McCARTHY and LISA L. McCARTHY, individually and as personal representatives of the ESTATE OF DANIELLE McCARTHY, a deceased minor child; JORDAN PARIS, individually; and GARY M. JONES, individually; Defendants

Page 1158

For Metropolitan Property and Casualty Insurance Company, Plaintiffs, Counter Defendants: Jason E Vacha, John Woodruff Rankin, Jr., LEAD ATTORNEYS, REED MCCLURE, SEATTLE, WA.

For Patrick J McCarthy, Lisa L McCarthy, individually and as personal representatives of estate of Danielle McCarthy, Defendants, Counter Claimants: Lincoln C Beauregard, LEAD ATTORNEY, Anna L Price, CONNELLY LAW OFFICES, TACOMA, WA.

Page 1159

ORDER GRANTING PLAINTIFF'S MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT

BENJAMIN H. SETTLE, United States District Judge.

This matter comes before the Court on Plaintiff Metropolitan Property & Casualty Insurance Company's (" MetLife" ) motion for summary judgment (Dkt. 20). The Court has considered the pleadings filed in support of and in opposition to the motion and the remainder of the file and hereby grants the motion for the reasons stated herein.

I. PROCEDURAL HISTORY

On December 9, 2009, Patrick and Lisa McCarthy (the " McCarthys" ) sued Jordan Paris (" Paris" ) and other defendants in Pierce County Superior Court. Dkt. 21, Declaration of Jason E. Vacha (" Vacha Dec." ), Ex. A. The McCarthys claim that Paris negligently failed to summon assistance for their sixteen-year-old daughter, Danielle McCarthy (" Danielle" ), who passed away after overdosing on ecstasy. Id. at 6.

On October 19, 2012, MetLife denied insurance coverage to Paris. Vacha Dec., Ex. E at 2. On January 17, 2014, MetLife began defending Paris under a reservation of rights. Id. On February 19, 2014, MetLife filed a complaint for declaratory judgment in this court. Dkt. 1. On May 20, 2014, an order of default was entered against Paris and Gary Jones. Dkt. 17.

On June 18, 2014, MetLife filed a motion for summary judgment. Dkt. 20. On July 14, 2014, the McCarthys--the remaining defendants--responded to MetLife's motion. Dkt. 22. On July 17, 2014, MetLife replied. Dkt. 24.

II. FACTUAL BACKGROUND

Paris and Danielle were at a New Year's Eve party on December 31, 2006. Vacha Dec., Ex. A at 6. While at the party, Danielle consumed two pills of ecstasy. Id. at 9. Each pill contained four doses of MDMA, an illegal psychoactive substance. Id. After consuming the pills, Danielle became progressively ill and drifted in and out of consciousness. Id. at 10. Danielle passed away the next morning. Id. at 12.

Page 1160

Following her death, the McCarthys sued Paris and other defendants for negligently failing to summon assistance for their daughter. Id. at 6.

At the time of Danielle's death, Paris's parents, Charles Sundsmo and Candace Paris-Sundsmo (the " Sundsmos" ), had a homeowners insurance policy with MetLife. Vacha Dec., Ex. B. The policy had a term of April 15, 2006 to April 15, 2007, and liability limits of $500,000 for each occurrence. Id. at 4.

The MetLife policy provides liability coverage for " all sums for bodily injury." Id. at 29. The policy, however, contains an exclusion for bodily injury arising out of the use of a controlled substance:

14. Controlled Substance. We do not cover bodily injury or property damage arising out of the use, sale, manufacture, delivery, transfer or possession by any person of a Controlled Substance, as defined by the Federal Food and Drug Law, ...

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