United States District Court, W.D. Washington, Tacoma
ORDER DENYING STATE FARM'S MOTION FOR PARTIAL
SUMMARY JUDGMENT AND GRANTING ALLSTATE'S MOTION FOR
BENJAMIN H. SETTLE UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
matter comes before the Court on Defendant State Farm Fire
and Casualty Company's (“State Farm”) motion
for partial summary judgment re: coverage, Dkt. 17, and
Defendant Allstate Insurance Company's
(“Allstate”) motion for summary judgment re:
coverage, Dkt. 21. The Court has considered the pleadings
filed in support of and in opposition to the motions and the
remainder of the file and hereby denies State Farm's
motion and grants Allstate's motion for the reasons
16, 2018, Plaintiff Vanessa Camper (“Camper”)
filed a complaint in Pierce County Superior Court for the
State of Washington against State Farm and Allstate. Dkt.
1-2. Camper alleges that the insurance companies are liable
for all damages associated with the flooding of her house on
May 17, 2017. Id.
14, 2018, Allstate removed the matter to this Court. Dkt. 1.
19, 2019, State Farm and Allstate filed the instant motions
for summary judgment. Dkts. 17, 21. On July 8, 2019, Camper
responded. Dkts. 23, 27. On July 12, 2019, State Farm and
Allstate replied. Dkts. 28, 30.
morning of May 17, 2017, Camper walked down the stairs of her
home to the lower level and “walked right into
water.” Dkt. 18-1 at 4. She could not find where the
water was coming from, so she sought help from her neighbor.
Dkt. 25, Declaration of Vanessa Camper (“Camper
Decl.”), ¶¶ 5-6. They discovered that water
was flowing down her driveway and into her garage.
Id. ¶ 7. At some point, Camper discovered that
the water was emanating from a broken pipe between the main
water connection and her house. Camper contacted Allstate and
Washington Restorer, a home restoration company. Id.
¶ 8. Washington Restorer sent its employee Maggie King
(“King”) to Camper's house to appraise the
damage and develop a remediation plan. Dkt. 26, ¶ 2.
King arrived at the house, the water had been turned off, but
the source of the leak had not been identified. Id.
¶ 6. King asserts that the water heater was damaged and
the electrical wiring in the house had been compromised by
the flooding. Id. King opines that the house was
uninhabitable because (1) there was no water, (2) the
electrical system was compromised, (3) asbestos insulation
had been damaged and needed to be removed, and (4) mold had
started to form. Id. ¶ 7.
submitted the remediation plan and construction bids to
Allstate, but Allstate denied coverage. Several weeks after
the incident, Camper discovered that she also had a
homeowner's policy with State Farm. Camper Decl., ¶
13. Camper submitted a claim, and State Farm assigned
adjustor Fred Long (“Long”) to the claim.
Id. Initially, State Farm denied coverage, but it
eventually provided some coverage for the damage.
Id. ¶ 15. Although King told Camper that the
home was uninhabitable, State Farm refused to compensate
Camper for substitute housing. Id. ¶ 16. Camper
claims that Long would not authorize remedial work until
Camper paid to fix the broken pipe. Id. In
September, Camper obtained funds to pay for the pipe repair.
She then hired DrainTech Northwest to excavate and repair the
water line. Id., Exh. A.
date of the loss, Camper had a homeowner's insurance
policy with State Farm. Dkt. 18-3. The relevant parts of the
policy for the purposes of this motion are (1) the losses not
insured provision and (2) the mitigation of losses provision.
In the first provision, the policy states that State Farm
will not cover loss to property that is caused by
“wear, tear, marring, scratching, deterioration,
inherent vice, latent defect or mechanical breakdown”
or “mold, fungus or wet or dry rot.” Dkt. 19-1 at
8. The provision also states that State Farm does “not
insure under any coverage for any loss consisting of the
items” listed above. Id.
the mitigation of losses provision, the policy states an
insured's duties after a loss. Included in those duties
is the duty to give immediate notice to State Farm and the
duty to protect the property from further damage or loss.
Id. at 9.
date of the loss, Camper had a homeowner's policy with
Allstate. Relevant to the instant motion, the policy covered
losses resulting from a sudden and accidental escape of water
or steam from a plumbing system within the dwelling. Dkt.
22-2 at 24- 25. The policy, however, excluded losses
resulting from “[w]ater or any other substance on or
below the surface of the ground, regardless of its source.
This includes water or any other substance which exerts
pressure on, or flows, seeps or leaks through any part of the
residence premises.” Id. at 23.