United States District Court, W.D. Washington
HONORABLE RONALD B. LEIGHTON JUDGE
MATTER is before the Court on Plaintiff McCausland's
Motion to Compel production of Defendants' insurance
policy, to Compel mediation, and to Continue the trial date.
[Dkt. # 28].
Motion to Continue the trial is unopposed and is GRANTED. The
Clerk will issue a Minute Order with a new trial date and
corresponding revised deadlines.
claim they informed Plaintiff of their need to conduct
discovery prior to scheduling a settlement conference, and
that they would then either agree to a date or ask the court
for relief from the mediation requirement. The deadline for
doing so is April 11, which has not passed, and which will be
extended anyway, due to the trial continuance. The Motion to
Compel Mediation is DENIED without prejudice.
request for the defendants' insurance policies raises
more difficult questions. McCausland claims Michael Long
falsely claimed McCausland “grabbed (Long's)
crotch” during a church-sponsored flag football game,
and that Elizabeth Long publicly and in writing repeated that
accusation. He claims both made additonal and more damning
accusations that McCausland had grabbed a child's
genitals in the game, raped a girl at youth camp, was
generally not safe around children, and “should undergo a
sexual offender evaluation and a polygraph. He sued the Longs
(and their chiropractic business) for defamation, libel,
slander, and the intentional infliction of emotional
seeks an order compelling them to produce “two
insurance policies.” It is not clear whether these are
homeowner's policies, CGL policies on the business,
malpractice policies, auto policies, or some other sort of
policy. The relationship between the policies and
McCausland's intentional tort claims is not explained.
Civ. P. 26(a)(1)(A)(iv) requires automatic disclosure of
“any insurance agreement under which an insurance
business may be liable to satisfy all or part of a
possible judgment in the action or to indemnify or reimburse
for payments made to satisfy the judgment.” (Emphasis
argue that this Rule does not require them to provide every
policy they own; it requires the production of policies that
“may” give rise to an insurer's duty to
indemnify the insured in the event of an adverse judgment.
They point out that all of the claims asserted are
intentional torts for which virtually no insurance
policy provides coverage. See Thomas V. Harris,
Washington Insurance Law § 24.1, at 24-1 (1995)
(“In one form or another, all liability policies
exclude coverage for intentionally-caused injuries.”)
Defendants argue they have consciously chosen not to notify
their insurer(s) of this lawsuit-for fear it would register
as “a claim, ” even if coverage was predictably
denied-and they do not seek a defense or indemnity under any
policy. They also argue that plaintiffs generally have been
known to contact and perhaps “harass”
defendants' insurers directly in an effort to stimulate
settlement, with the potential consequence of premium hikes
or policy non-renewal.
Reply, McCausland claims that allegations of negligence are
buried in his defamation and libel per se claims-he claims
the statements were made “recklessly or negligently,
” and that they defamed him “without necessity of
considering the surrounding circumstances.” He claims
these are allegations of negligence, and that the
defendants' “business policy” (presumably a
CGL policy) may cover those acts.
difficult to see how any policy insuring the Longs would
provide coverage for a judgment based on McCausland's
intentional tort claims: defamation, libel, slander or the
intentional infliction of emotional distress. It is also
difficult to see how the Longs' statements- the first of
which was allegedly made during the heat of a
church-sponsored flag football game- were made, as McCausland
alleges, as agents of the chiropractic business, or that they
could conceivably trigger a CGL or malpractice policy
covering their chiropractic practice.
disclosure rule at issue is a broad, discovery-related one.
This is not a dispositive motion on the duty to defend or
indemnify on a given set of allegations under a given policy,
or a motion for summary judgment on the viability of
McCausland's claims against the business. If there are
policies that “may” provide
indemnity coverage, they have to be provided under
the Rule. The Defendants shall provide the two requested
“business” (CGL or similar, but not
malpractice) insurance policies for review under the Rule
within 10 days of this Order. However, to assuage their
reasonable fears that the Plaintiff will contact the insurers
in an effort to damage them or drive a settlement, the Court
PROHIBITS any such contact absent an order, which is unlikely
to be granted. A violation of this order may subject
plaintiff and counsel to sanctions.
to this, the Motion to Compel Production of ...