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Estate of Ingram v. American States Ins. Co.

United States District Court, E.D. Washington

August 25, 2014

ESTATE OF CARL R. INGRAM, through its personal representatives, AMITY LARSEN and DANIELLE WOLD, Plaintiffs,
v.
AMERICAN STATES INSURANCE COMPANY; and SAFECO INSURANCE COMPANY OF ILLINOIS, Defendants

For Amity Larsen, Personal Representative for the Estate of Carl R. Ingram, Danielle Wold, Personal Representative for the Estate of Carl R. Ingram, Plaintiffs: Robert W Rembert, LEAD ATTORNEY, Irwin Myklebust Savage and Brown, Pullman, WA.

For American States Insurance Company, Safeco Insurance Company of Illinois, Defendants: Edward George Johnson, LEAD ATTORNEY, Law Offices Raymond W Schutts, Liberty Lake, WA; John Michael Silk, LEAD ATTORNEY, Wilson Smith Cochran Dickerson, Seattle, WA.

Page 1047

ORDER GRANTING DEFENDANT AMERICAN STATES INSURANCE COMPANY'S MOTION FOR PARTIAL SUMMARY JUDGMENT

ROSANNA MALOUF PETERSON, Chief United States District Judge.

BEFORE THE COURT is a Motion for Partial Summary Judgment filed by Defendant American States Insurance Company (" American States" ), ECF No. 11. The motion was heard without oral argument. John M. Silk appeared on behalf of Defendant American States. Robert W. Rembert appeared on behalf of the Plaintiff, the Estate of Carl R. Ingram. The Court has considered the briefing and the file and is fully informed.

BACKGROUND

Plaintiff, the Estate of Carl R. Ingram, filed a Complaint for Underinsured Motorist

Page 1048

Coverage in Asotin County. ECF No. 1-1 at 3-13. Defendants subsequently filed for removal of the case to federal court on the basis of diversity jurisdiction. ECF No. 1.

According to the allegations of the Complaint, Carl R. Ingram was struck and killed by a motorist, Kenneth A. Smith, on the evening of December 14, 2012, after Mr. Ingram had stopped to provide assistance to a couple who were attempting to remove loose dogs from the roadway and vicinity. ECF No. 1-1 at 3-13. Plaintiff alleges that Mr. Smith admitted at the scene that he did not even see Mr. Ingram prior to striking him. Id.

Plaintiff alleges that Mr. Smith was an underinsured motorist at the time of the incident and that Mr. Smith's insurer promptly tendered its applicable liability limit. Plaintiff also alleges that Defendants American States and Safeco Insurance Company of Illinois each insured Mr. Ingram for underinsured motorist coverage at the time of the incident. Id.

Pertinent to the instant motion, Plaintiff further alleges that Defendant American States' insurance policy contained an invalid provision requiring the insured to bring suit within one year after the date on which the cause of actions accrues to receive UIM benefits. Id. American States' policy included underinsured motorist coverage via the Washington Underinsured Motorist Coverage endorsement. The relevant part of the policy states:

3. Legal Action Against Us is replaced by the following:

a. No one may bring a legal action against us under this Coverage Form until there has been full compliance with all the terms of this Coverage Form.

b. Any legal action against us under this Coverage Form must be brought within one year after the date on which ...

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