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Westridge Townhomes Owners Association v. Great American Assurance Co.

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

October 31, 2017

WESTRIDGE TOWNHOMES OWNERS ASSOCIATION, Plaintiff,
v.
GREAT AMERICAN ASSURANCE COMPANY, a foreign insurance company, as successor to AGRICULTURAL INSURANCE COMPANY; GREENWICH INSURANCE COMPANY, a foreign insurance company, Defendants.

          ORDER GRANTING IN PART PLAINTIFF'S MOTION FOR PARTIAL SUMMARY JUDGMENT AND DENYING DEFENDANTS' MOTION TO CONTINUE

          RICARDO S. MARTINEZ CHIEF UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.

         I. INTRODUCTION

         This matter comes before the Court on Plaintiff Westridge Townhomes Owners Association (“the Association”)'s Motion for Partial Summary Judgment. Dkt. #50. Defendants Great American Assurance Company (“Great American”) and Greenwich Insurance Company (“Greenwich”) oppose the Motion and move to continue it for three months to allow for completion of discovery. See Dkts. #53, #56, and #58. The Court has determined that oral argument is unnecessary. For the reasons below, the Court GRANTS IN PART Plaintiff's Motion and DENIES Defendant's Motion to Continue.

         II. BACKGROUND

         Plaintiff is an association of unit owners at Westridge Townhomes condominium in Kent, Washington. Dkt. #51 at ¶ 3. Defendants Great American and Greenwich sold the Association a series of “Difference in Conditions” property insurance policies, including the one at issue in this motion. See Dkt. #52-1.

         The Policy states that it “insures against all risks of direct physical loss or damage from any external cause except as hereinafter excluded . . . .” Id. at 6. The Policy specifically states it will not cover a list of excluded perils, including “errors in design, errors in processing, faulty workmanship or faulty materials…” Id. at 10. However, the Policy does not explicitly exclude “faulty construction, ” “faulty maintenance, ” or “wet or dry rot, ” although those terms are excluded in other policies issued by Defendants. See Dkt. #50 at 6-7.

         In January of 2016, the Association received a report from architect Keith Soltner, which described damage to the framing and sheathing that had previously been hidden behind the condominium's exterior siding. Dkt. #51 at ¶ 5.

         On April 28, 2016, the Association submitted a claim to Defendants for this damage. Dkt. #52-6. The Association sent notice to Great American to the address that Washington's Office of the Insurance Commissioner instructed the Association to use. See Dkts. #52-7 and #52-8. The Association sent the Greenwich notice to the “registered address” that Greenwich had given to the Office of the Insurance Commissioner. See Dkt. #52-9. Defendants failed to promptly respond or investigate, eventually denying the claims by letter dated April 12, 2017. Dkt. #47 at 120.

         The Association filed this lawsuit in June 2016. Dkt. #1. The current Amended Complaint alleges that Defendants, in failing to provide coverage and failing to promptly investigate the Association's insurance claims, acted in bad faith, violated several insurance regulations, violated RCW 48.30.015, and violated the Washington Consumer Protection Act, RCW 19.86.020. Dkt. #47 at 5-6.

         Although discovery is still proceeding, the Association now moves for partial summary judgment, requesting that the Court rule as a matter of law that: the Policy does not exclude, and therefore covers, the perils of faulty construction, faulty maintenance, and wet or dry rot; the Policy covers non-excluded property damage regardless of when the damage occurred; Defendants have the burden of proving that other insurance applies; if the jury decides that damage resulted from the combination of excluded and non-excluded perils, then the damage will be covered; and that Defendants' suit limitation clause and late notice defenses are stricken. Dkt. #50-3 at 2.

         III. DISCUSSION

         A. Motion to Continue

         As an initial matter, Defendants move to continue consideration of the Association's Motion for Summary Judgment. Dkt. #53. Defendants cite Rule 56(d):

When Facts Are Unavailable to the Nonmovant. If a nonmovant shows by affidavit or declaration that, for specified reasons, it cannot present facts essential to justify its opposition, the court may:
(1) defer considering the motion or deny it;
(2) allow time to obtain affidavits or declarations or to take ...

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