United States District Court, W.D. Washington Tacoma
ORDER GRANTING IN PART AND DENYING IN PART
DEFENDANT'S MOTION FOR PARTIAL SUMMARY JUDGMENT
BENJAMIN H. SETTLE United States District Judge.
matter comes before the Court on Defendant State Farm
Automobile Insurance Company's (“State Farm”)
motion for partial summary judgment. Dkt. 60. 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 in part and denies it in part for
the reasons stated herein.
23, 2015, Plaintiff Trina Jenkins (“Jenkins”)
filed her complaint in this action. Dkt. 1. On February 23,
2016, Plaintiffs Jenkins, Charles Van Tassel (“Van
Tassel”), and Jeremy Plank (“Plank) (collectively
“Plaintiffs”) filed an amended complaint adding
claims from Van Tassel and Plank. Dkt. 28. On August 16,
2016, the Court issued a scheduling order establishing
deadlines for the disclosure of expert testimony, motions to
exclude expert testimony, and motions for class
certification. Dkt. 33. On October 14, 2016, Plaintiffs
timely filed their disclosure of expert witnesses. Dkt. 34.
September 5, 2017, State Farm moved to exclude the testimony
of Siskin and Toglia. Dkts. 42, 44. On September 6, 2017,
Plaintiffs filed their motion for class certification. Dkt.
48. The Court has already entered an order denying State
Farm's motions to exclude and denying Plaintiff's
motion to certify. Dkt. 82.
October 10, 2017, State Farm also moved for partial summary
judgment. Dkt. 60. On December 4, 2017, Plaintiffs responded.
Dkt. 72. On January 3, 2017, State Farm replied and moved to
strike Plaintiffs' response as untimely. Dkt. 78.
Plaintiff Van Tassel's Claim
January 14, 2015, Plaintiff Van Tassel's vehicle was rear
ended by an underinsured motorist. Dkt. 56-1 at 129. The same
day, Plaintiff Van Tassel reported the accident to State
Farm. Id. On January 30, 2015, Plaintiff Van Tassel
informed State Farm that he “want[ed] diminished
value” to be covered in his Underinsured Motorist
(“UIM”) claim. Id. at 133.
result of the accident, Plaintiff Van Tassel's vehicle
required over $16, 000 in repairs, which was paid for in part
by the at-fault driver's insurance while the rest was
paid for under Plaintiff Van Tassel's policy with State
Farm for UIM coverage. Dkt. 56-1 at 129-30; Dkt. 49-22 at 4;
Dkt. 49-23 at 8, 13; Dkt. 56-1 at 129. The repairs included
body and frame repairs. Dkt. 49-23 at 3-5, 10.
the vehicle went through initial repairs, Plaintiff Van
Tassel began to notice paint flakes on the repaired portion
of the vehicle and a vibration while driving. Dkt. 56-1 at
13, 26. After these problems surfaced, Plaintiff Van Tassel
requested that State Farm conduct an additional inspection to
make sure there was no remaining unrepaired damage, but State
Farm refused. Dkt. 49-22 at 6. While it is clear that State
Farm handled Plaintiff Van Tassel's accident as a UIM
claim, State Farm noted the record lacks any indication that
he submitted a specific claim for diminished value with
Plaintiff Plank's Claim
3, 2015, Plaintiff Plank was in a collision caused by an
at-fault driver who turned into his lane of traffic in front
of him. Dkt. 56-1 at 30. After the accident, Plaintiff Plank
discussed diminished value coverage via phone call with the
State Farm insurance agency where he obtained his policy,
however he never discussed diminished value with a State Farm
representative handling his claim. See Id. at 35.
The at-fault driver's insurer handled Plaintiff
Plank's claim, including approximately $19, 000 in
repairs. Id. at 188.
letter dated October 21, 2015, Plaintiff Plank informed State
Farm of his pending settlement offer from the at-fault
driver's insurer in the amount of the at-fault
driver's policy limit. Dkt. 56-1 at 154. In the letter,
Plaintiff Plank offered State Farm ten days in which to
purchase Plaintiff's cause of action against the at-fault
driver for the remaining sum under the applicable policy
limit, “so as not to prejudice [State Farm's] right
of subrogation.” Id. The letter also indicated
that Plaintiff Plank would be making a UIM claim for the
remaining balance of the diminished value of his vehicle
after he received a response ...