United States District Court, W.D. Washington, Seattle
ORDER GRANTING SUMMARY JUDGMENT
C. COUGHENOUR UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
matter comes before the Court on the motion for summary
judgment by Defendant State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance
Company (Dkt. No. 10). Having thoroughly considered the
parties' briefing and the relevant record, the Court
finds oral argument unnecessary and hereby GRANTS the motion
for the reasons explained herein.
December 21, 2013, Plaintiff Bernadette Schwartz was in a car
accident. (Dkt. No. 11 at 17.) Schwartz was a passenger in a
car driven by David Parker. (Id.) The collision was
caused by another driver, Bernardino Lopez Rodriguez.
(Id.) Rodriguez had no motorist insurance.
(Id. at 18.) Schwartz was covered by Parker's
insurance policy from Defendant State Farm Mutual Automobile
Insurance Company. (Id.; Dkt. No. 1-2 at 4; Dkt. No.
12 at 6-22.)
personal injury protection (PIP) policy had a limit of $10,
000.00 per person. (Dkt. No. 1-2 at 4; Dkt. No. 12 at 49.)
From January-August 2014, State Farm paid Schwartz's
medical providers directly under the PIP policy. (Dkt. No. 12
at 50.) At times, the payments from State Farm did not fully
cover a provider's bill. (See id.) On April 14,
2014, Schwartz sent State Farm an IFCA letter regarding
the PIP coverage. (Id. at 35.) The letter stated:
It has come to our attention that State Farm has partially
denied most of Ms. Schwartz's treatments with Starr
Chiropractic, P.S. In reviewing the PIP file, State Farm
referenced the basis for partial payment of most of Ms.
Schwartz's bills as being “re-priced in accordance
with a Three Rivers Network owned contract.” Please
prove that such a contract exists. State Farm's PIP
coverage is not exhausted. Ms. Schwartz expects that PIP
coverage will cover these charges.
(Id.) By August 2014, the payments from State Farm
to providers had reached the PIP policy limit of $10, 000.00.
(See Id. at 50.)
uninsured motorist (UM) policy had a limit of $100, 000.00
per person. (Dkt. No. 12 at 7.) On May 18, 2015, Schwartz
sent a letter to State Farm stating that she was entitled to
recover $33, 776.45 under the UM policy. (Id. at 52,
55.) On July 16, 2015, State Farm determined that Schwartz
was entitled to recover $9, 000.00 under the UM policy. (Dkt.
No. 11 at 18.) As of September 2015, State Farm had not made
any payment to Schwartz. (Id.)
October 2, 2015, Schwartz brought suit against State Farm in
King County District Court. (Id. at 5.) Schwartz
asserted that she was entitled to full coverage under
Parker's UM policy and that State Farm breached the
insurance contract by “not making any payment of
uninsured motorist benefits to” Schwartz. (Id.
County District Court Judge Peter Nault ruled in
Schwartz's favor. (Id. at 10-12.) Judge Nault
determined that Schwartz was entitled to recover $65, 872.30
in damages, with certain offsets. (Id. at 12, 19.)
On April 14, 2016, Judge Nault entered judgment against State
Farm in the net amount of $51, 029.44 with 12% annual
interest. (Dkt. No. 16-1 at 6-7.)
April 15, State Farm issued a check in the amount of $46,
872.03 to “Law Office [of] Sam Elder & Bernardino
Lopez-Rodriguez.” (Id. at 9.) State Farm also
issued a check in the amount of $4, 157.41 to “Law
Office of Sam Elder.” (Dkt. No. 1-2 at 6.) These two
checks added up to $51, 029.44.
April 25, Schwartz's counsel informed State Farm that it
had failed to pay interest of $16.78 per day. (Dkt. No. 16-1
at 11.) On May 3, State Farm sent a proposed satisfaction of
judgment based on its payments made. (Id. at 13-18.)
Schwartz's counsel responded that he could not sign the
full satisfaction of judgment until the interest was paid.
(Id. at 23.)
5, Schwartz's counsel informed State Farm that one check
was incorrectly made out to Rodriguez. (Id. at 25.)
On May 16, State Farm issued a new check in the amount of
$46, 872.03, correctly made out to “Sam Elder &
Bernadette Louise Schwartz.” (Id. at 35.)
20, Schwartz's counsel again informed State Farm that he
would not sign a full satisfaction of judgment until interest
was paid. (Id. at 37.) On May 21, State Farm issued
a check for $167.00 to cover the interest. (Id. at
39.) On June 1, Schwartz ...