United States District Court, W.D. Washington, Seattle
ORDER GRANTING MOTION FOR OREGON CHOICE OF
L. ROBART UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
the court is Defendant Allstate Property and Casualty
Insurance Company's (“Allstate”) motion
asking the court to recognize that Oregon law controls the
interpretation of the insurance policy at issue and the
claims asserted in Plaintiff Alix Gierke's complaint.
(See Mot. (Dkt. # 14); see also Compl.
(Dkt. # 1-2).) Ms. Gierke opposes the motion. (See
Resp. (Dkt. # 17).) The court has considered the motion, all
submissions filed in support of and in opposition to the
motion, the relevant portions of the record, and the
applicable law. Being fully advised,  the court GRANTS the motion
and applies Oregon law to this case.
insurance policy at issue in this case is Allstate Policy No.
987990420 (“the Policy”), which Allstate issued
to Ms. Gierke. (Wisbey Decl. (Dkt. # 15) ¶ 2, Ex. A
(attaching a copy of the policy).) The Policy period is from
April 12, 2017, through October 12, 2017. (Id. at
The Policy consists of: (1) Oregon Allstate Fire and Casualty
Insurance Company Auto Insurance Policy - AFA18; (2) Oregon
Amendatory Endorsement - AU14223-6; and (3) Claim
Satisfaction Guarantee Amendatory Endorsement - AP4878.
(Id. at 14.) The Policy refers to Oregon and Oregon
law in numerous provisions throughout.
Policy contains the following choice-of-law provision:
What Law Will Apply
This policy is issued in accordance with the laws of Oregon
and covers property or risks principally located in Oregon.
Subject to the following paragraph, any and all claims or
disputes in any way related to this policy shall be governed
by the laws of Oregon.
If a covered loss to the auto, a covered
auto accident, or any other occurrence for
which coverage applies under this policy happens outside
Oregon, claims or disputes regarding that covered loss to the
auto, covered auto
accident, or other covered occurrence may be governed by the
laws of the jurisdiction in which that covered loss to the
auto, covered auto
accident, or other covered occurrence happened, only if the
laws of that jurisdiction would apply in the absence of a
contractual choice of law provision such as this.
(Id. at 21-22.)
Allstate initially issued automobile insurance to Ms. Gierke,
she lived in Oregon. (See Gierke Decl. (Dkt. ## 18
(sealed), 22 (redacted)) ¶ 2.) In 2015, Ms. Gierke
relocated to Seattle, Washington, and obtained a Washington
State driver's license that same year. (Id.
¶¶ 3, 5.) She also began paying taxes as a
Washington State resident in 2015. (Id. ¶ 4.)
April 21, 2017, during an exchange of email correspondence,
Ms. Gierke informed her Allstate insurance agent that she no
longer had an Oregon driver's license but rather a
Washington driver's license. (Id. ¶ 7, Ex.
3 at 14.) Specifically, on April 21, 2017, Ms. Gierke's
insurance agent wrote to her during the course of an email
exchange: “Underwriting didn't process the renewal.
I am working on getting it corrected. Just to verify, do you
still have an Oregon license?” On the same day, Ms.
Gierke responded: “Hi there, Thank you! Washington.
I've included the photo - does that work?” (Gierke
Decl. ¶ 7, Ex. 3 at 14.) Although Ms. Gierke indicates
both in the referenced email exchange and in her declaration
that she attached a copy of her Washington driver's
license to the email, there is no indication in Exhibit 3 to
her declaration-other than the quoted statement in her
email-that the email chain contains an attachment of any
sort. (See id. ¶ 7, Ex. 3.) Indeed, the
Policy's amended declarations page recites that
Allstate's “[i]nformation as of June 15, 2017,
” was that Ms. Gierke's mailing address remained in
Beaverton, Oregon. (Wisby Decl. (Dkt. # 15) ¶ 2, Ex. A
4, 2017, Ms. Gierke was driving her automobile near Seattle,
Washington, when another driver rear-ended her vehicle
causing damage. (See Gierke Decl. ¶¶ 1, 8;
Carter Decl. (Dkt. ## 19 (sealed), 21 (redacted)) ¶ 2,
Ex. 1 (attaching a copy of the police report).) The police
report of the accident indicates that, despite moving to
Seattle in 2015, Ms. Gierke never changed her vehicle's
license from Oregon to Washington. (See Carter Decl.
¶ 2, Ex. 1 at 3.) Thus, at the time of the accident, the
insured vehicle continued to be licensed in Oregon.
(See Wisbey Decl. ¶ 2, Ex. A (attaching a copy
of the Policy identifying the insured vehicle).)
Gierke alleges that on September 27, 2018, the liability
carrier for the individual who rear-ended her vehicle offered
the full liability policy limits of his insurance policy to
resolve her claim. (Compl. ¶ 4.6.) She further alleges
that this policy limits settlement failed to make her whole.
(Id. ¶ 4.7.) Accordingly, she demanded that
Allstate pay her the limits of the Underinsured Motorist
(“UIM”) coverage provided in the ...