United States District Court, W.D. Washington, Seattle
ORDER GRANTING DEFENDANT DERHEIM’S MOTION FOR
SUMMARY JUDGMENT AND DENYING DEFENDANT REDDECK’S MOTION
HONORABLE RICHARD A. JONES UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
matter is before the Court on Defendants Fritz and Beth
Derheim’s motion for summary judgment. Dkt. #34. The
Court has also considered Defendant Edward Reddeck’s
motion to dismiss. Dkt. # 39. For the reasons below, the
Court GRANTS the motion for summary judgment
and DENIES the motion to dismiss.
August 18, 2016, Patrick Reddeck called 911 to report that he
had found his partner of over nine years, Amy Derheim, in the
bathtub unconscious of her home. Dkt. # 36, ¶ 2. Once
Kent Fire and Aid arrived, they determined that Derheim had
died prior to the 911 call and that there were no obvious
signs of foul play. Id., ¶ 3. The cause of
death was later found to be Ketamine intoxication with
asphyxia due to drowning. Id., ¶ 4. No other
drugs or alcohol were found in her system. Dkt. # 35-2.
Because of the manner and circumstances of Derheim’s
death were unclear, the medical examiner referred the case to
the Kent Police Department (hereinafter, the “Kent
Police” or “police department”). Dkt. # 36,
turning over information about Derheim, the medical examiner
relayed that members of Derheim family reported that money
had been taken out of Amy’s bank loan account.
Id., ¶ 5. The Kent Police eventually developed
probable cause for the crime of theft in the first degree for
funds stolen from Derheim’s Boeing Employee’s
Credit Union (BECU) Home Equity Loan Account. Id.
During the investigation, the Kent Police discovered that
Derheim had confronted Reddeck about missing money a few
months prior to her death. Some of the evidence suggested
that Derheim recognized a pattern of withdrawals from her
account that lined up with deposits into Reddeck’s bank
account. Dkt. # 35-2. When she discovered Reddeck’s
online job was a scam, Derheim gave him an ultimatum to get a
job by the end of summer 2016, or else she would ask him to
move out of her house. Id.
search warrant was granted to search Derheim’s and
Reddeck’s BECU accounts, information from BECU showed
that, on the day of Derheim’s death, an online transfer
occurred from her account to Reddeck’s account in the
amount of $10, 011.74. Dkt. # 36, ¶ 5. The transaction
occurred approximately four hours before Reddeck called 911
to report the discovery of Derheim in the bathtub. Dkt. # 36,
¶ 5. The BECU records also showed that Reddeck withdrew
$8, 000.00 from his BECU account on September 12, 2016.
Id. Kent Police interviewed Reddeck on October 11,
2016, during which he denied ever having access to
Derheim’s bank account. Id. Reddeck claimed
that someone had hacked his computer causing funds to be
transferred from Derheim’s account to his account.
Id. However, there was ATV video surveillance of
Reddeck making the withdrawal. Id.
police also obtained access to Derheim’s life insurance
policy, which had been issued through Securian Life Insurance
Company (the “Policy”). The investigation
uncovered that the Policy had been accessed electronically on
August 18, 2016 at 9:24 a.m, approximately two hours after
Reddeck had called 911. Id., ¶8. Securian Life
Insurance Company confirmed that the access to the Policy was
gained through the use of Derheim’s user name and
password. Id. The evidence also showed that the
policy was accessed through a fake IP address twice on July
2, 2016 before it was accessed again on August 18, 2016.
Id. A recorded phone call to Securian by Reddeck
occurred on August 26, 2016, where he inquired about the
Policy and whether there were any exclusions. Id.
Further evidence from the investigation showed activity to
Derheim’s beneficiary page for her basic life
insurance, supplemental life insurance, and accidental death
and dismemberment insurance in September 2016. Dkt. # 35-2.
taken from Reddeck’s computer showed internet searches
regarding the use of Ketamine had occurred on August 6, 2016,
12 days before Derheim’s death. Dkt. # 36, ¶ 9.
Additional searches on Mr. Reddeck’s computer had
occurred on October 9, 2016, regarding Ketamine. Id.
The investigation caused the Kent Police to determine that
there was probable cause to believe Reddeck had committed
murder by obtaining and administering Ketamine to Derheim,
leading her to drown in the bathtub. Id. It was
believed that the motive for the murder was to collect on
Derheim’s life insurance as the primary beneficiary.
Id. On October 12, 2016, officers executed a search
warrant for Reddeck’s residence and observed a handgun
in his possession as they entered. Id., ¶7. He
refused to drop the gun and was shot multiple times and
Life Insurance Company (“Securian”) brought an
interpleader action in this Court regarding Derheim’s
death benefit under the Policy. Dkt. # 1. Patrick Reddeck was
listed as the beneficiary of the Policy upon Derheim’s
death. Id., ¶ 11. Beth Derheim was listed as
the contingent beneficiary of the Policy proceeds in the
event of Amy’s death. Id., ¶ 13. Her
parents (the “Derheim Family”) have asserted a
claim to the life insurance proceeds, asserting that the
named beneficiary, Reddeck, should be treated as having
predeceased the Insured, based on the “slayer statute,
” RCW 11.84.100. Id. Mr. Reddeck’s
father, Edward Reddeck (the “Reddeck Family”) has
asserted a competing claim to the Policy proceeds, asserting
that as the named beneficiary, Patrick Reddeck, now deceased,
was entitled to the life insurance proceeds and accordingly,
such proceeds should be paid to him and Darlene Craig as the
sole heirs of Patrick Reddeck. Id., ¶ 14.
23, 2018, the Derheim Family filed a motion for summary
judgment. Dkt. # 34. On August 15, 2019, the Reddeck Family
filed a one-page motion to dismiss alleging a lack of
jurisdiction, fraud on the Court, obstruction of justice, and
perjury. Dkt. # 39.
judgment is appropriate if there is no genuine dispute as to
any material fact and the moving party is entitled to
judgment as a matter of law. Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(a). The moving
party bears the initial burden of demonstrating the absence
of a genuine issue of material fact. Celotex Corp. v.
Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 323 (1986). Where the moving
party will have the burden of proof at trial, it must
affirmatively demonstrate that no reasonable trier of fact
could find other than for the moving party. Soremekun v.
Thrifty Payless, Inc., 509 F.3d 978, 984 (9th Cir.
2007). On an issue where the nonmoving party will bear the
burden of proof at trial, the moving party can prevail merely
by pointing out to the district court that there is an
absence of evidence to support the non-moving party’s
case. Celotex Corp., 477 U.S. at 325. If the moving
party meets the initial burden, the opposing party must set
forth specific facts showing that there is a genuine issue of
fact for trial in order to defeat the motion. Anderson v.
Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 250 (1986). The court
must view the evidence in the light most favorable to the
nonmoving party and draw all reasonable inferences in that
party’s favor. Reeves v. Sanderson Plumbing
Prods., 530 U.S. 133, 150-51 (2000).
the court need not, and will not, “scour the record in
search of a genuine issue of triable fact.” Keenan
v. Allan, 91 F.3d 1275, 1279 (9th Cir. 1996); see
also, White v. McDonnel-Douglas Corp., 904 F.2d 456, 458
(8th Cir. 1990) (the court need not “speculate on which
portion of the record the nonmoving party relies, nor is it
obliged to wade through and search the entire record for some
specific facts that might support the nonmoving party’s
claim”). The opposing party must present significant
and probative evidence to support its claim or defense.
Intel Corp. v. Hartford Accident & Indem. Co.,
952 F.2d 1551, 1558 (9th Cir. 1991). Uncorroborated
allegations and “self-serving testimony” will not