United States District Court, W.D. Washington, Tacoma
STEVE E. BARRON, et al., Plaintiffs,
AMERICAN FAMILY MUTUAL INSURANCE COMPANY, Defendant.
ORDER GRANTING IN PART AND DENYING IN PART
DEFENDANT'S MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT AND DENYING
PLAINTIFFS' MOTION FOR PARTIAL SUMMARY JUDGMENT
BENJAMIN H. SETTLE United States District Judge.
matter comes before the Court on Defendant American Family
Mutual Insurance Company's (“American
Family”) motion for summary judgment (Dkt. 44) and
Plaintiffs Steve E. Barron, Christine L. Hillestad, Marc W.
Hillestad, Raymond Owens, Tammy Owens, and Frank E.
Schoen's (“Plaintiffs”) motion for partial
summary judgment (Dkt. 55). The Court has considered the
pleadings filed in support of and in opposition to the
motions and the remainder of the file and hereby rules as
28, 2016, Plaintiffs filed a class action complaint against
American Family asserting numerous causes of action. Dkt. 1.
All of the causes of action are based on the theory that
American Family failed to pay the actual cash value for
damaged items because American Family improperly depreciated
the value of these items based solely on the age of the
items. Id. ¶¶ 29, 30.
February 15, 2017, American Family filed a motion for summary
judgment. Dkt. 44. On March 6, 2017, Plaintiffs responded.
Dkt. 53. On March 9, 2017, Plaintiffs filed a cross-motion
for summary judgment. Dkt. 55. On March 10, 2017, American
Family replied to Plaintiffs' response. Dkt. 56. On March
27, 2017, American Family responded to Plaintiffs'
motion. Dkt. 59. On March 31, 2017, Plaintiffs replied. Dkt.
entered into individual contracts of insurance with American
Family. It is undisputed that each contract obligated
American Family to pay the insured the “Actual Cash
Value” (“ACV”) of damaged property in
certain circumstances. Dkt. 44 at 34; Dkt. 53 at 3. The
policies define ACV as “the amount it costs to repair
or replace property with property of like kind and quality
less depreciation for physical deterioration and
threshold matter, the parties appear to be ships passing in
the night. American Family seeks a ruling that straight-line
age-based depreciation is appropriate for every instance of
attributable depreciation while Plaintiffs seek a ruling that
straight-line age-based depreciation can never be a factually
accurate determination of depreciation. Based on the current
record, the true answer lies somewhere in the middle of these
positions. For example, age may be the only relevant factor
in depreciating an item, whereas in other situations age has
no relevance whatsoever in determining an item's
obsolescence. Accordingly, the issue is not amenable to
resolution as a matter of law and, in the absence of further
evidence, may only be determined on an item-by-item basis.
Summary Judgment Standard
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 Anderson, 477 U.S. at 255). Conclusory,
nonspecific statements in affidavits are not sufficient, and
missing facts will not be presumed. Lujan v. Nat'l
Wildlife Fed'n, 497 U.S. 871, 888-89 (1990).
Court construes an insurance policy as a whole, giving the
policy a “fair, reasonable, and sensible construction
as would be given to the contract by the average person
purchasing insurance.” Amer. Nat. Fire Ins. Co. v.
B & L Trucking and Constr. Co., Inc., 134 Wn.2d 413,
427 (Wn. 1998) (internal quotations omitted). If the language
is clear and unambiguous, the Court must enforce it as
written. Id. at 429. If the clause is ambiguous, the
Court may look to extrinsic evidence of the parties'
intent to resolve the ambiguity. Id. The Court
resolves any remaining ambiguities against the
drafter-insurer and in favor of the insured. Id. A
clause is ambiguous when, on its face, it is fairly
susceptible to two reasonable interpretations. Id.
When the Court relies on inferences drawn from ...