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Safeco Ins. Co. of Oregon v. Masood

Court of Appeals of Oregon

July 2, 2014

SAFECO INSURANCE COMPANY OF OREGON, Plaintiff-Respondent,
v.
SOHAIL MASOOD, Defendant-Appellant

Argued and Submitted February 5, 2013.

Clackamas County Circuit Court. CV09040785. Henry C. Breithaupt, Judge pro tempore.

David Axelrod argued the cause for appellant. With him on the opening brief were Manasi Kumar, Sara Kobak, and Schwabe Williamson & Wyatt, P.C. With him on the reply brief were Abra T. Cooper, Sara Kobak, and Schwabe, Williamson & Wyatt, P.C.

Stephen F. Deatherage argued the cause for respondent. On the briefs were John A. Bennett, Emilie K. Edling, and Bullivant Houser Bailey PC.

Before Armstrong, Presiding Judge, and Egan, Judge, and De Muniz, Senior Judge.[*]

OPINION

Page 62

[264 Or.App. 174] DE MUNIZ, S. J.

The issue in this case is whether an insured, after filing a claim of loss, may condition compliance with an insurer's information requests by requiring the insurer to execute a confidentiality agreement that imposes limitations on the insurer's use of the insured's personal information. Plaintiff, Safeco Insurance Company of Oregon (Safeco), refused to enter into such an agreement with the insured, Masood, and filed a declaratory judgment action. The trial court entered summary judgment for Safeco, concluding that the terms of the policy required Masood to cooperate with Safeco's claim investigation and that Masood could not condition his cooperation on the negotiation of additional contractual terms. For the reasons that follow, we affirm.

Page 63

We take the facts from the summary judgment record and view those facts and all reasonable inferences that may be drawn from them in the light most favorable to Masood, the nonmoving party. Oregon Steel Mills, Inc. v. Coopers & Lybrand, LLP, 336 Ore. 329, 332, 83 P.3d 322 (2004).

Masood had a homeowner insurance contract with Safeco when a fire destroyed his residence. Masood and his family were displaced from the residence while firefighters and clean-up crews worked on the site. Safeco provided security for the property during the cleanup. After returning to the residence, Masood reported a theft from the site of approximately $3.5 million of personal property. Masood alleged that the theft occurred after the fire while Safeco had control of the site. Following receipt of Masood's claim of loss for the stolen property, Safeco initiated an investigation of the claim. As part of its investigation, Safeco requested that Masood furnish information such as financial statements, records of Masood's children's college fees, all health insurance costs for Masood and his family, and the monthly expenses associated with Masood's pet care. Safeco also demanded that Masood consent to the disclosure of his Social Security information to vendors from which Masood had purchased tangible goods.

The portion of the parties' insurance contract that bears on Safeco's information requests provides:

[264 Or.App. 175] " 3. An Insured's Duties After Loss. In case of a loss to which this insurance may apply, you must ...

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