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Spencer v. State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Co.

United States District Court, W.D. Washington, Tacoma

October 16, 2017

MARVIN SPENCER, Plaintiff,
v.
STATE FARM MUTUAL AUTOMOBILE INSURANCE COMPANY, Defendant.

          ORDER GRANTING DEFENDANT'S MOTION FOR PARTIAL SUMMARY JUDGMENT

          BENJAMIN H. SETTLE, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.

         This matter comes before the Court on Defendant State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Company's (“State Farm”) motion for partial summary judgment re: extra-contractual claims (Dkt. 11). The Court has considered the pleadings filed in support of and in opposition to the motion and the remainder of the file and hereby grants the motion for the reasons stated herein.

         I. PROCEDURAL HISTORY

         On September 9, 2016, Plaintiff Marvin Spencer (“Spencer”) filed a complaint against State Farm in Pierce County Superior Court for the State of Washington. Dkt. 1-1. Spencer asserts claims for breach of contract and violations of the Washington Insurance Fair Conduct Act (“IFCA”), RCW Chapter 40.30. Id., ¶¶ 4.1-5.3.

         On October 18, 2016, State Farm removed the matter to this Court. Dkt. 1.

         On August 30, 2017, State Farm filed a motion for partial summary judgment. Dkt. 11. On September 18, 2017, Spencer responded. Dkt. 14. On September 22, 2017, State Farm replied. Dkt. 17.

         II. FACTUAL BACKGROUND

         On September 27, 2013, Kunthea Oul ran a stop sign and crashed into Spencer's vehicle. Dkt. 13, Declaration of Scott Wakefield, Exh. A at 2. In October 2015 Spencer settled his claim with Ms. Oul for her policy limit of $50, 000. Id., ¶ 2. Spencer then asserted an underinsured motorist claim with his insurance company State Farm. On October 16, 2015, State Farm paid Spencer $25, 000 as the policy limit for a personal injury protection (“PIP”) claim. Id., Exh. D. State Farm, however, requested that Spencer hold the money in trust subject to “appropriate offsets or setoffs.” Dkt. 15, Declaration of Amanda M. Searle (“Searle Decl.”), Exh. 5.

         On November 2, 2015, Spencer, via letter from his attorney, demanded State Farm tender the $100, 000 underinsured motorist policy limit. Id., Exh. G. In response, State Farm requested that Spencer undergo an independent medical evaluation (“IME”). After some delay, the evaluation was scheduled for February 10, 2016. Dkt. 12, Declaration of Jayne Kreifel (“Kreifel Decl.”), Exh. A. In late January or early February, Spencer cancelled the IME.[1] Spencer asserts that he cancelled the IME because State Farm had failed to deliver a copy of his policy so that he could confirm IME requirement. Dkt. 14 at 6.

         On February 4, 2016, State Farm emailed a copy of Spencer's policy to Spencer's counsel. Searle Decl., Exh. 7.

         On February 23, 2016, State Farm agreed to waive its PIP subrogation rights to $3, 967.44 and pay for some other fees. Id., Exh. 6.

         On April 22, 2016, Spencer filed an IFCA notice with the Washington Insurance Commissioner. Dkt. 14 at 6.

         On August 15, 2017, Spencer underwent an IME with Dr. Hal Rappaport. Kreifel Decl., Exh. 5. At issue was whether Spencer's ulnar nerve transposition surgery was related to the motor vehicle collision. Id. at 3. Dr. Rappaport ultimately concluded that treatment for his ulnar nerve was not reasonable under the claim. Id. at 22.

         III. ...


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