United States District Court, W.D. Washington, Tacoma
ORDER GRANTING IN PART AND DENYING IN PART
PLAINTIFF'S MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT
BENJAMIN H. SETTLE UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
matter comes before the Court on Plaintiff American
Alternative Insurance Corporation's
(“American”) motion for summary judgment, Dkt.
49, and Defendants Sun Theresa Choe (“Choe”) and
Goodwill of the Olympics and Rainier Region's
(“Goodwill”) motion for leave to file overlength
brief, Dkt. 56. The Court has considered the pleadings filed
in support of and in opposition to the motions and the
remainder of the file and hereby rules as follows:
November 22, 2017, American filed a declaratory judgment
action against Defendants Goodwill, Choe, Enrique Hernandez
Franco (“Franco”), Jane Doe Hernandez Franco, and
Non Profit Insurance Program (“Risk Pool”)
seeking a declaration that there is no duty to defend,
indemnify, or reimburse Goodwill or the Risk Pool based on
allegations in an underlying complaint. Dkt. 1.
18, 2019 American filed the instant motion for summary
judgment seeking a declaration that its policy does not
obligate American to defend or indemnify. Dkt. 49. On
September 5, 2019, Choe and Goodwill filed a motion for leave
to file an overlength brief. Dkt. 56. On September 9, 2019, Choe,
Goodwill, and the Risk Pool responded. Dkts. 57, 59. On
September 13, 2019, American replied. Dkt. 62.
September 20, 2014, Choe and Franco were customers at
Goodwill. Franco had purchased furniture at the store, and
Goodwill employees instructed him to back his truck up a
loading ramp so that the furniture could be loaded into the
vehicle. While backing up the ramp, Franco ran over Choe
causing severe injuries. On January 6, 2016, Choe filed suit
against Goodwill in state court.
26, 2017, Choe moved for entry of default judgment because
Goodwill had failed to appear or defend. Goodwill immediately
moved to set aside the default arguing that it had not been
served with the complaint. Ultimately, the court granted the
motion with conditions. Goodwill also notified the Risk Pool
of the suit, which notified American. The Risk Pool does not
issue insurance itself. Instead, the Risk Pool negotiates and
obtains insurance of behalf of its non-profit members such as
Goodwill. Relevant to the instant matter, Goodwill obtained
insurance with American through the Risk Pool. The relevant
policy covered (1) commercial general liability
(“CGL”), which included an automobile injury
exclusion, (2) separate automobile coverage, and (3) a prompt
notice of claim provision.
September 2017, Choe moved to reinstate the default based on
evidence that Goodwill had been timely served in early 2016.
The court denied the request to reinstate the default and
instead imposed sanctions of 1% liability for Goodwill's
failure to timely submit the evidence in question.
December 2017, Choe and Goodwill entered into a settlement
agreement. Goodwill agreed to pay $300, 000 of a stipulated
judgment of $1, 750, 000 and assigned its claims against the
Risk Pool and American over to Choe. In March 2018, the state
court concluded that the settlement was reasonable.
moves for judgment seeking a declaration that it had no duty
to defend or indemnify Goodwill or the Risk Pool.
Summary Judgment Standard
judgment is proper only if the pleadings, the discovery and
disclosure materials on file, and any affidavits show that
there is no genuine issue as to any material fact and that
the movant is entitled to judgment as a matter of law.
Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(c). The moving party is entitled to judgment
as a matter of law when the nonmoving party fails to make a
sufficient showing on an essential element of a claim in the
case on which the nonmoving party has the burden of proof.
Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 323 (1986).
There is no genuine issue of fact for trial where the record,
taken as a whole, could not lead a rational trier of fact to
find for the nonmoving party. Matsushita Elec. Indus. Co.
v. Zenith Radio Corp., 475 U.S. 574, 586 (1986)
(nonmoving party must present specific, significant probative
evidence, not simply “some metaphysical doubt”).
See also Fed. R. Civ. P. 56(e). Conversely, a
genuine dispute over a material fact exists if there is
sufficient evidence ...