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Kaufman v. Geico Indemnity Co.

United States District Court, D. Oregon

June 5, 2015

SABRINA GRETE KAUFMAN, f/k/a Sabrina Grete Carranza, Plaintiff,
v.
GEICO INDEMNITY COMPANY, Defendant.

Keil M. Mueller, Jennifer S. Wagner, Steve D. Larson, STOLL STOLL BERNE LOKTING & SHLACHTER P.C., Portland, OR, Rodney F. Pillsbury, PILLSBURY & READ, P.A., Greenville, SC, Attorneys for Plaintiff.

Joshua Grabel, Sheila Carmody, SNELL & WILMER LLP, Phoenix, AZ, Douglas G. Houser, Stuart Duncan Jones, BULLIVANT HOUSER BAILEY, PC, Portland, OR, Attorneys for Defendant.

OPINION & ORDER

MARCO A. HERNNDEZ, District Judge.

Plaintiff Sabrina Carranza brings this class action lawsuit alleging that Defendant GEICO Indemnity Company breached the parties' automobile insurance policy contract (hereinafter, "Policy"). The parties bring cross-motions for summary judgment, urging this Court to interpret the Policy in their favor. At issue is the application of deductibles to damage incurred as a result of a collision between two vehicles insured under one Policy. Plaintiff contends that the Policy prohibits Defendant from applying a deductible to each vehicle. Defendant argues that each vehicle is subject to a deductible, even if it is involved in an accident with another vehicle insured under the same Policy. For the reasons that follow, the Court agrees with Defendant and, therefore, grants its motion for summary judgment.

BACKGROUND

Plaintiff had two vehicles insured under one Policy issued by GEICO Indemnity. First Amended Complaint ("Am. Compl.") ¶¶ 13-15. Plaintiff's two vehicles collided with each other. Id. ¶ 15. When Plaintiff's claims were processed, she was charged a deductible for each vehicle. Id. ¶ 19. Plaintiff brings this lawsuit as a class action on behalf of all other current and former holders of GEICO Indemnity automobile insurance policies whose vehicles were involved in a collision with another vehicle insured under the same policy. Id. ¶¶ 1, 24.

The "Declarations Page" of the Policy summarizes the coverage that Defendant agreed to provide Plaintiff, and the costs that Plaintiff agreed to pay in exchange for such coverage. Policy[1] at 3. The Policy insured two vehicles. Id. The Policy listed Plaintiff as the "named insured" and listed Plaintiff's husband[2] as the "additional driver." Id. The Policy provided for collision coverage for each vehicle, among other provisions. Id. The cost for such coverage differed between the vehicles, reflecting the age and value of each vehicle. Id. Both vehicles had a $500 deductible. Id. The Policy provided the same coverage for each vehicle for several other kinds of liability, such as bodily injury and property damage. Id. Coverage for each vehicle differed only as to "Emergency Road Service"-Plaintiff elected and paid for such coverage for her husband's vehicle, but not for her own. Id.

STANDARDS

I. Summary Judgment

Summary 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 responsibility of informing the court of the basis of its motion, and identifying those portions of "the pleadings, depositions, answers to interrogatories, and admissions on file, together with the affidavits, if any, ' which it believes demonstrate the absence of a genuine issue of material fact." Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 323 (1986) (quoting Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(c)).

Once the moving party meets its initial burden of demonstrating the absence of a genuine issue of material fact, the burden then shifts to the nonmoving party to present "specific facts" showing a "genuine issue for trial." Fed. Trade Comm'n v. Stefanchik, 559 F.3d 924, 927-28 (9th Cir. 2009) (internal quotation marks omitted). The nonmoving party must go beyond the pleadings and designate facts showing an issue for trial. Bias v. Moynihan, 508 F.3d 1212, 1218 (9th Cir. 2007) (citing Celotex, 477 U.S. at 324).

The substantive law governing a claim determines whether a fact is material. Suever v. Connell, 579 F.3d 1047, 1056 (9th Cir. 2009). The court draws inferences from the facts in the light most favorable to the nonmoving party. Earl v. Nielsen Media Research, Inc., 658 F.3d 1108, 1112 (9th Cir. 2011).

If the factual context makes the nonmoving party's claim as to the existence of a material issue of fact implausible, that party must come forward with more persuasive evidence to support his claim than would otherwise be necessary. Matsushita ...


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