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Ohio Security Insurance Co. v. Axis Insurance Co.

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

June 6, 2018

OHIO SECURITY INSURANCE COMPANY, Plaintiff,
v.
AXIS INSURANCE COMPANY, Defendant.

          ORDER GRANTING IN PART AND DENYING IN PART PLAINTIFF'S MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT; GRANTING IN PART AND DENYING IN PART DEFENDANT'S MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT; AND DENYING WITHOUT PREJUDICE PLAINTIFF'S MOTION FOR LEAVE TO AMEND

          BENJAMIN H. SETTLE UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

         This matter comes before the Court on the cross-motions for summary judgment of Plaintiff Ohio Security Insurance Company (“Ohio Security”) and Defendant Axis Insurance Company (“Axis”). Dkts. 19, 22. Also before the Court as Ohio Security's motion for leave to file an amended complaint. Dkt. 60 at 5. The Court has considered the pleadings filed in support of and in opposition to the motions and the remainder of the file and hereby (1) grants in part and denies in part Ohio Security's motion for summary judgment; (2) grants in part and denies in part Axis's motion for summary judgment; and (3) denies without prejudice Ohio Security's motion for leave to amend.

         I. FACTUAL BACKGROUND

         This case concerns insurance coverage for a building located at 9625 32nd Ave. S., Lakewood, Washington, that is used to store ice. In May 2011, Grosso Enterprises Tacoma, LLC (“Grosso”) leased the building to Reddy Ice Corporation (“Reddy Ice”) for a period of ten years. See Dkt. 21-1. On January 20, 2012, a snowstorm caused the building's roof to become overloaded and collapse. Thereafter, Reddy Ice tendered an insurance claim to Axis and Grosso tendered an insurance claim to Ohio Security. The Axis insurance policy, issued to Reddy Ice as the “Named Insured, ” covered a period from August 25, 2011, to August 25, 2012. Dkt. 21-2. The Ohio Security policy was issued to Grosso and covered a period from May 17, 2011, to May 17, 2012. Dkt. 20-1. Both insurance companies began investigating the loss after claims were tendered from the respective insureds.

         In December 2012, Axis retroactively issued an endorsement to Grosso naming him as an additional insured under the Axis policy. Dkt. 21 at 2. The endorsement's effective date was August 25, 2011, and covered the same period as the Axis policy, ending on August 25, 2012. Dkt. 25 at 4.

         In providing coverage for the damaged building, Ohio Security issued the following payments to Grosso:

May 5, 2012 ........................ $250, 000
June 6, 2012 ........................ $551, 743.87
October 3, 2013 .................. $71, 838.81
November 21, 2013 ............ $920, 504.42

Dkt. 21-3. Ohio Security now seeks contribution from Axis based on Grosso's status as an additional insured under Reddy Ice's policy with Axis.

         II. PROCEDURAL HISTORY

         On January 16, 2015, Ohio Security filed a complaint in Pierce County Superior Court, bringing a claim against Axis for equitable contribution. Dkt. 1-3 at 2. Ohio Security claims that it is entitled to equitable contribution from Axis on its payments to Grosso in order to rebuild the building that collapsed. Dkt. 1-2.

         On January 28, 2015, Ohio Security caused the summons and complaint to be served on Edith Green, an employee of Axis, at Axis's registered address for service of process on file with the state's insurance commissioner. Dkt. 1-3 at 13-14. On August 7, 2015, Axis filed an answer to the complaint, wherein Axis asserted that Ohio Security failed to properly serve Axis and that the Court lacked personal jurisdiction over Axis. Id. at 48. Then, on August 25, 2015, Axis moved to dismiss on the grounds of insufficiency of service of process. ...


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