United States District Court, E.D. Washington
WILLIAM H. MORGAN, Plaintiff,
SENTRY INSURANCE COMPANY, LLC, et al., Defendant.
ORDER GRANTING DEFENDANTS' MOTION FOR SUMMARY
ROSANNA MALOUF PETERSON United States District Judge
THE COURT is a Motion for Summary Judgment, ECF No. 32, filed
by Defendant Sentry Insurance a Mutual Company (identified as
“Sentry Insurance Company, LLC”) and Defendant
Middlesex Insurance Company (identified as “Middlesex
Insurance Company, LLC”) (collectively,
“Defendants”). The Court has reviewed the
pleadings and the record, and is fully informed.
William Morgan brought suit against Defendants, based on
claims involving insurance coverage after an automobile
accident that allegedly resulted in physical injuries to Mr.
Morgan and damage to Mr. Morgan's vehicle. ECF No. 1 at
2; see also ECF No. 23-2 at 2; ECF No. 23-2 at 6;
ECF No. 23-2 at 10-15. The Court dismissed his Complaint, his
First Amended Complaint, and his Second Amended Complaint.
ECF Nos. 12, 19, 22. In his Third Amended Complaint, Mr.
Morgan appears to bring claims of breach of contract,
negligence, and collusion, as well as a number of statutory
claims. See ECF No. 23.
Court has subject matter jurisdiction over this matter
pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1332 based on the diversity of
the parties and the amount in controversy. Plaintiff Morgan
alleges that he is a resident of the state of Oregon. ECF 23
at 3; ECF No. 32 at 3. Defendants are incorporated in
Wisconsin with their principal places of business in
Wisconsin. ECF No. 32 at 3. The amount in controversy is $10
million, which exceeds the statutory requirement of $75, 000.
ECF No. 23 at 2.
courts sitting in diversity apply state substantive law and
federal procedural law.” Feldman v. Allstate Ins.
Co., 322 F.3d 660, 666 (9th Cir. 2003). The substantive
law at issue here is insurance law. The insurance policy was
issued in the state of Washington while Mr. Morgan was a
Washington resident, and the accident giving rise to Mr.
Morgan's claims against Defendants also occurred in
Washington. ECF No. 33 at 3-6, 11. Defendants argue that
Washington law should apply to this matter, ECF No. 32 at 4,
which Mr. Morgan does not dispute. ECF No. 23 at 5.
Therefore, the Court will apply the law of Washington to the
substantive issues in this case.
Standard for Summary Judgment
may grant summary judgment where “there is no genuine
dispute as to any material fact” of a party's prima
facie case, and the moving party is entitled to judgment as a
matter of law. Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S.
317, 322-33 (1986); see also Fed. R. Civ. P. 56(c).
A genuine issue of material fact exists if sufficient
evidence supports the claimed factual dispute, requiring
“a jury or judge to resolve the parties' differing
versions of the truth at trial.” T.W. Elec. Serv.,
Inc. v. Pac. Elec. Contractors Ass'n, 809 F.2d 626,
630 (9th Cir. 1987). “A key purpose of summary judgment
‘is to isolate and dispose of factually unsupported
claims.'” Id. (citing Celotex,
477 U.S at 324).
moving party bears the burden of showing the absence of a
genuine issue of material fact, or in the alternative, the
moving party may discharge this burden by showing that there
is an absence of evidence. See Celotex, 477 U.S. at
325. The burden then shifts to the nonmoving party to set
forth specific facts showing a genuine issue for trial.
See Id. at 324. The nonmoving party “may not
rest on mere allegations, but must by [its] own affidavits,
or by the depositions, answers to interrogatories, and
admissions on file designate specific facts showing that
there is a genuine issue for trial.” Id. The
Court will not infer evidence that does not exist in the
record. See Lujan v. National Wildlife Federation,
497 U.S. 871, 888-89 (1990) (court will not presume missing
facts). However, the Court will “view the evidence in
the light most favorable” to the nonmoving party.
Newmaker v. City of Fortuna, 842 F.3d 1108, 1111
(9th Cir. 2016). “The evidence of the non-movant is to
be believed, and all justifiable inferences are to be drawn
in his favor.” Anderson v. Liberty Lobby,
Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 248 (1986).
Against Defendant Sentry Insurance
Morgan asserts claims against the named defendant, Sentry
Insurance. See ECF No. 23. Defendants correctly
argue that to prevail in a claim for coverage Mr. Morgan has
the burden of showing who is insured, the type of risk
insured against, and the existence of an insurance contract.
ECF No. 32 at 4 (citing Olivine Corp. v. United Capitol
Ins. Co., 52 P.3d 494, 502 (2002). Defendants assert
that Sentry Insurance never issued any insurance policy to
Mr. Morgan. Id. Mr. Morgan fails to refute that
deficiency by providing evidence that Sentry Insurance issued
an insurance policy to him.
Court finds that Mr. Morgan has failed to create a genuine
issue of material fact, and failed to support the essential
elements of insurance contract claims, against Sentry
Insurance. Therefore, the Court finds that summary judgment
is proper and dismisses with prejudice Mr. Morgan's
claims against Sentry Insurance.
Against Defendant ...