Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

Certain Underwriters at Lloyds v. Pettit

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

March 1, 2018

CERTAIN UNDERWRITERS at LLOYD'S, LONDON, Subscribing to Policies Numbered 8029663, 8001778, 8071754, 8072492, 8072737, and 8071620, Plaintiffs,
v.
JEFF PETTIT, an individual, Defendant.

          ORDER GRANTING PLAINTIFFS' MOTION FOR PARTIAL SUMMARY JUDGMENT

          RICARDO S. MARTINEZ CHIEF UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

         This matter comes before the Court on a Motion for Partial Summary Judgment filed by Plaintiffs Certain Underwriters at Lloyd's, London, Subscribing to Policies Numbered 8029663, 8001778, 8071754, 8072492, 8072737, and 8071620 (“Underwriters”). Dkt. #12. Plaintiffs seek summary judgment dismissal of Defendant Jeff Pettit's affirmative defenses related to preclusion (¶7.9), statute of limitations (¶7.10), indemnity (¶7.11), contribution (¶7.12), contributory negligence (¶7.13), and service of process (¶7.14). Dkt. #12. Defendant Jeff Pettit only opposes dismissal of the contributory negligence affirmative defense, conceding dismissal of the remainder. Dkt. #15. For the reasons set forth below, the Court GRANTS Plaintiffs' Motion.

         I. BACKGROUND

         Because Plaintiffs seek only partial summary judgment, the Court will limit discussion to those facts relevant to the requested relief.

         Plaintiffs are pursuing subrogated claims in this case against Defendant Pettit for property damage due to a marina fire. On February 21, 2014, a fire broke out at J Dock at the Shelter Bay Marina in La Conner, Washington. Dkt. #1 (“Complaint”) at ¶¶ 3.1, 3.3. One of the several recreational vessels destroyed by the fire was the IN DECENT SEAS, owned by Pettit. Complaint at ¶ 3.1; Dkt. #6 (“Answer”) at ¶ 7.5. Another of the damaged vessels was the SHEAR JOY, owned by Bill and Myo Shears (“the Shears”). Complaint at ¶ 3.1. The two vessels were moored next to each other.

         The circumstances of the marina fire were previously presented to the Court in the context of a claim for exoneration brought by the Shears, which was decided in the Shears' favor on summary judgment. See In re Complaint of Shears, No. C14-1296RSM, 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 258, at *15 (W.D. Wash. Jan. 4, 2016). Prior to this Court's ruling, notice of the Shears' Complaint was served on the owners of the other vessels damaged in the fire, including Pettit, as well as other potential claimants. See Dkt. #13-2. Several boat owners (or their insurers) and the marina filed claims in the limitation action. Dkt. #13 at ¶ 5. Those who did not, including Pettit, were defaulted on December 9, 2014. Id. and Dkt. #13-3.

         Plaintiffs assert in this action that the fire was caused by Pettit's negligence and the unseaworthiness of IN DECENT SEAS. Complaint at ¶¶ 4.2-4.4, 5.2-5.4. Pettit denies liability.

         II. DISCUSSION

         A. Legal Standard

         Summary judgment is appropriate where “the movant shows that there is no genuine dispute as to any material fact and the movant is entitled to judgment as a matter of law.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(a); Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 247 (1986). Material facts are those which might affect the outcome of the suit under governing law. Anderson, 477 U.S. at 248. In ruling on summary judgment, a court does not weigh evidence to determine the truth of the matter, but “only determine[s] whether there is a genuine issue for trial.” Crane v. Conoco, Inc., 41 F.3d 547, 549 (9th Cir. 1994) (citing Federal Deposit Ins. Corp. v. O'Melveny & Meyers, 969 F.2d 744, 747 (9th Cir. 1992)).

         On a motion for summary judgment, the court views the evidence and draws inferences in the light most favorable to the non-moving party. Anderson, 477 U.S. at 255; Sullivan v. U.S. Dep't of the Navy, 365 F.3d 827, 832 (9th Cir. 2004). The Court must draw all reasonable inferences in favor of the non-moving party. See O'Melveny & Meyers, 969 F.2d at 747, rev'd on other grounds, 512 U.S. 79 (1994). However, the nonmoving party must make a “sufficient showing on an essential element of her case with respect to which she has the burden of proof” to survive summary judgment. Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 323 (1986). Further, “[t]he mere existence of a scintilla of evidence in support of the plaintiff's position will be insufficient; there must be evidence on which the jury could reasonably find for the plaintiff.” Anderson, 477 U.S. at 251.

         B. Contributory Negligence Affirmative Defense

         Plaintiffs argue that Defendant Pettit is “precluded (by way of collateral estoppel / issue preclusion) from offering as an affirmative defense that the Shears' negligence caused the fire” because he defaulted in the prior case and because the Shears' negligence “was actually litigated by other parties and this Court decided on summary judgment that the Claimants could not prove the Shears were negligent...” Dkt. #12 at 17-18.

         In Response, Pettit argues that claim and issue preclusion do not apply to the default judgment entered against Mr. Pettit in the Shears matter. Dkt. #15 at 1. Pettit also argues that the issues of where the fire started, and what object was the origin of the fire, were not ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.