United States District Court, W.D. Washington, Tacoma
ORDER DENYING THE PARTIES' MOTIONS FOR PARTIAL
BENJAMIN H. SETTLE, United States District Judge
matter comes before the Court on Defendant State Farm Fire
and Casualty Company's (“State Farm”) motion
for partial summary judgment (Dkt. 19) and Mark and Patricia
Hoffman's (“Hoffmans”) cross-motion for
partial summary judgment (Dkt. 20). The Court has considered
the pleadings filed in support of and in opposition to the
motions and the remainder of the file and hereby denies the
motions for the reasons stated herein.
22, 2015, the Hoffmans filed a complaint against State Farm
and West Sound Property Management, LLC, d/b/a Windermere
Property Management/West Sound (“West Sound”) in
Kitsap County Superior Court for the State of Washington.
Dkt. 1, ¶ 1. On December 18, 2015, the Hoffmans filed an
amended complaint asserting causes of action against State
Farm for breach of contract, bad faith, violations of the
Insurance Fair Conduct Act (“IFCA”), and
violations of the Consumer Protection Act (“CPA”)
and against West Sound for intentional or negligent
misrepresentation, breach of contract, and violations of the
CPA. Dkt. 1-1, ¶¶ 4.1-4.2.
February 29, 2016, the state court granted State Farm's
motion for summary judgment dismissing the Hoffmans'
breach of contract claim. Dkt. 8-3 at 305-306. On June 13,
2016, the court denied State Farm's motion on the
Hoffmans' remaining claims and the Hoffmans'
cross-motion for summary judgment. Dkt. 8-8 at 205-206. On
June 20, 2016, the court granted the parties' stipulated
motion to dismiss West Sound. Id. at 208-209.
20, 2016, State Farm removed the matter to this Court. Dkt.
November 11, 2016, State Farm refiled its motion for partial
summary judgment on the Hoffmans' remaining claims. Dkt.
19. Despite some reorganization, the motion presents the same
arguments that were rejected by the state court. Not to be
outdone, on November 16, 2016, the Hoffmans refiled their
cross-motion as well. Dkt. 20. With some modifications, the
parties refiled their responses, Dkts. 23, 27, and their
replies, Dkts. 25, 28.
Bites of the Apple
Hoffmans contend that “State Farm seeks a second bite
at the summary judgment apple, ” Dkt. 23 at 2, and, if
the Court entertains State Farm's bite, it should also
entertain the Hoffmans' second bite, Dkt. 20 at 2. State
Farm counters that case law “indicate[s] that the
federal court, within its discretion and for
‘cogent' reasons, could grant summary judgment
notwithstanding the earlier denial by the state court.”
Preaseau v. Prudential Ins. Co. of Am., 591 F.2d 74,
80 (9th Cir. 1979). State Farm asserts that the “state
court did not have sufficient time or resources to give the
motion the consideration it deserved.” Dkt. 25 at 12.
Contrary to State Farm's assertion, any reasonable jurist
that even briefly familiarized him or herself with the record
would recognize that material questions of fact exist for
trial. Accordingly, the Court will provide a slightly more
than summary analysis of the parties' motions.
judgment is proper only if the pleadings, the discovery and
disclosure materials on file, and any affidavits show that
there is no genuine issue as to any material fact and that
the movant is entitled to judgment as a matter of law.
Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(c). The moving party is entitled to judgment
as a matter of law when the nonmoving party fails to make a
sufficient showing on an essential element of a claim in the
case on which the nonmoving party has the burden of proof.
Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 323 (1986).
There is no genuine issue of fact for trial where the record,
taken as a whole, could not lead a rational trier of fact to
find for the nonmoving party. Matsushita Elec. Indus. Co.
v. Zenith Radio Corp., 475 U.S. 574, 586 (1986)
(nonmoving party must present specific, significant probative
evidence, not simply “some metaphysical doubt”).
See also Fed. R. Civ. P. 56(e). Conversely, a
genuine dispute over a material fact exists if there is
sufficient evidence supporting the claimed factual dispute,
requiring a judge or jury to resolve the differing versions
of the truth. Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477
U.S. 242, 253 (1986); T.W. Elec. Serv., Inc. v. Pac.
Elec. Contractors Ass'n, 809 F.2d 626, 630 (9th Cir.
determination of the existence of a material fact is often a
close question. The Court must consider the substantive
evidentiary burden that the nonmoving party must meet at
trial - e.g., a preponderance of the evidence in most civil
cases. Anderson, 477 U.S. at 254; T.W. Elec.
Serv., Inc., 809 F.2d at 630. The Court must resolve any
factual issues of controversy in favor of the nonmoving party
only when the facts specifically attested by that party
contradict facts specifically attested by the moving party.
The nonmoving party may not merely state that it will
discredit the moving party's evidence at trial, in the
hopes that evidence can be developed at trial to support the
claim. T.W. Elec. Serv., Inc., 809 F.2d at 630
(relying on And ...