United States District Court, W.D. Washington, Tacoma
ORDER GRANTING IN PART AND DENYING IN PART
DEFENDANT'S MOTIONS TO COMPEL
BENJAMIN H. SETTLE United States District Judge.
matter comes before the Court on Defendant GEICO General
Insurance Company's (“GEICO”) motion to
compel production (Dkt. 87) and motion to compel compliance
with subpoena (Dkt. 89) and the Court's request for
additional briefing (Dkt. 104). The Court has considered the
pleadings filed in support of and in opposition to the
motions and the remainder of the file and hereby grants in
part and denies in part the motions for the reasons stated
17, 2015, Plaintiff Megan Stone (“Stone”) filed a
class action complaint against multiple defendants in Pierce
County Superior Court. Dkt. 3-2. In short, Stone alleged that
GEICO failed to pay loss of use (“LOU”) damages
in connection with an underinsured motorist
(“UIM”) claim. Id.
August 3, 2015, GEICO moved to dismiss Stone's complaint
on multiple grounds. Dkt. 3-13. Relevant to the instant
motions, GEICO argued that “Stone's Complaint fails
to allege a basis for her claimed ‘entitlement' to
LOU benefits under the UIM coverage of auto insurance
policies issued by the GEICO defendants.” Id.
at 8. In response, Stone argued that GEICO not only
improperly cited unpublished opinions to support its
arguments, but also failed to rely on the actual language in
its policy, which differs from the language considered in the
cited authorities. Dkt. 3-21 at 7-11. On August 21, 2015, the
state court summarily denied GEICO's motion stating in
part that, “[f]or purposes of [court rule] 12(b)(6),
defendants motion as to its insuring agreement coverage is
denied.” Dkt. 3-24 at 1.
10, 2016, Stone filed an amended complaint, which added
Plaintiff Christine Carosi (“Carosi”) as a named
plaintiff. Dkt. 1-2. On May 20, 2016, Defendants removed the
matter to this Court. Dkt. 1. On May 27, 2016, Defendants
answered the amended complaint. Dkt. 13.
14, 2016, Plaintiffs Stone and Carosi
(“Plaintiffs”) moved to remand. Dkt. 16. On
October 12, 2016, the Court denied the motion stating in part
that subject matter jurisdiction may always be challenged.
March 15, 2017, GEICO served Plaintiffs with discovery
requests regarding the amount of attorney's fees
Plaintiffs' attorneys have recovered in similar class
action cases, Dkt. 88, Exh. 1, and served a subpoena on
Plaintiffs' attorney Stephen Hanson requesting similar
documents as well as records of billings in this case, Dkt.
90, Exh. 2. Plaintiffs objected to both requests. On May 4,
2017, GEICO filed the instant motions because the parties
were unable to resolve the dispute themselves. Dkts. 87, 89.
On May 15, 2017, Plaintiffs responded to the motion to compel
production. Dkt. 91. On May 19, 2017, GEICO replied. Dkts.
93, 94. On May 23, 2017, Plaintiffs filed a
surreply. Dkt. 100.
7, 2017, the Court requested additional briefing because the
relevance of the information may turn upon interpretation of
the operative complaint. Dkt. 104. On June 16, 2017, the
parties filed supplemental opening briefs. Dkts. 106, 107. On
June 23, 2017, the parties filed supplemental response
briefs. Dkts. 110, 111.
allege that both were covered by a GEICO insurance policy and
were involved in separate accidents with uninsured motorists.
Dkt. 1-2, ¶¶ 1.3, 1.6. They also allege that they
were without the use of their vehicles for periods of time
between when the accidents occurred until their vehicles were
repaired. Id. ¶¶ 1.5, 1.8.
Plaintiffs allege that the damages for loss of use is a
benefit that they are “legally entitled to”
recover under the law, and a benefit that is covered, and not
excluded by the GEICO policy. However, GEICO failed to
authorize, adjust, or pay for this type of loss under its
standard Washington insurance policy's UIM coverage. By
failing to pay for the loss that Plaintiffs and other
policyholders incurred, GEICO has breached its contract with
Id. ¶ 1.11. In their answer, GEICO
“denies each and every allegation contained in
Paragraph 1.11 of the Complaint.” Dkt. 13, ¶ 1.11.