United States District Court, D. Oregon, Portland Division
FINDINGS AND RECOMMENDATION
Honorable Paul Papak United States Magistrate Judge.
Government Employees Insurance Co. brings this action against
Defendants Leif s Auto Collision Centers, LLC, and Leif
Hansen, asserting claims for intentional interference with
contractual relations, defamation, and declaratory relief.
Plaintiff alleges that Defendants have attempted to
intimidate, delay, and obstruct Plaintiffs insurance
adjusters from evaluating damaged vehicles on Defendants'
has filed a Motion for Leave to Amend Complaint, and
Defendants have filed a Motion for Partial Judgment on the
Pleadings or Partial Summary Judgment. For the following
reasons, I recommend granting Defendants' motion and
Plaintiff s motion.
Defendants' Motion for Partial Judgment on the Pleadings
or Partial Summary Judgment
move for partial judgment on the pleadings or for partial
summary judgment on Plaintiffs claim seeking a declaratory
judgment that Plaintiff "need no longer conduct
commercial activity with Defendants, notwithstanding Oregon
law to the contrary." Compl. ¶ 54; Proposed First
Am. Compl. ¶ 92. The "Oregon law to the
contrary" is the anti-steering statute, Or. Rev. Stat.
§ 746.280, which prohibits insurers from requiring
"that a particular person make the repairs to the
insured's motor vehicle as a condition for recovery by
the insured under a motor vehicle liability insurance
policy." Plaintiff contends that because of
Defendants' alleged harassment of its adjusters, "a
complete cessation of commercial activity with Defendants is
reasonably necessaiy to protect the life, safety, and/or
health of [Plaintiffs] adjusters." Compl. ¶ 51;
Proposed First Am. Compl. ¶ 89.
alleges that Defendants have intentionally created an
atmosphere of fear and intimidation to prevent adjusters from
adequately performing their work. Compl. ¶ 15; Proposed
First Am. Compl. ¶ 26. Plaintiff alleges that Defendant
Hansen and employees of Defendant Leif s (1) told Plaintiffs
adjusters that "they know how to find people, "
with the intent to intimidate the adjusters, Compl.¶ 15,
Proposed First Am. Compl. ¶ 26; (2) threatened to sue
Plaintiffs adjusters personally or have them arrested,
typically when adjusters were attempting to negotiate
estimates or suggested a disagreement with Defendants about
an estimate, especially if this occurred when a customer of
Plaintiff s was present, Compl. ¶ 16, Proposed First Am.
Compl. ¶ 27; (3) cany knives and talk about guns in the
presence of Plaintiff s adjusters at Defendants'
facility, and at least one of Defendants' employees
talked about "killing people" with the intent to
frighten Plaintiffs adjuster, Compl. ¶ 17; Proposed
First Am. Compl. ¶ 28; and (4) one of Defendants'
employees drove a vehicle toward an adjuster for Plaintiff,
stopping at the last moment with the intent to harm or
frighten the adjuster, Compl. ¶ 18, Proposed First Am.
Compl. ¶ 29. Plaintiff alleges that because of
Defendants' attempts to intimidate its adjusters, one
adjuster has refused to return to Defendants' premises,
and several other adjusters "have experienced
significant stress and emotional harm." Compl. ¶
19, Proposed First Am. Compl. ¶ 30. Plaintiff alleges
that in response to Defendants' conduct towards its
adjusters, Plaintiff has "removed its adjusters from
[Defendants' premises] and contracted with independent
outside adjusters, " causing Plaintiff to incur
additional expenses for repairs performed by Defendants.
Proposed First Am. Compl. ¶ 31 (not in the original
also alleges that Defendants have permanently barred several
of Plaintiff s adjusters from performing adjusting services,
without any reasonable basis. Compl. ¶ 29, Proposed
First Am. Compl. ¶ 41. Defendants allegedly routinely
and unreasonably refuse to negotiate estimates on the cost of
repairs, and have thrown out adjusters when they attempt to
negotiate. Compl. ¶ 31, Proposed First Am. Compl. ¶
43. In the proposed first amended complaint, Plaintiff adds
an assertion that Defendants' conduct violates not only
the Oregon statute on workplace safety, Or. Rev. Stat. §
654.010, but also the analogous federal statute on workplace
safety, 29 U.S.C.§ 654. See Proposed First Am.
Compl. ¶ 88.
Motions for Judgment on the Pleadings
motion for judgment on the pleadings under Federal Rule of
Civil Procedure 12(c) '"is properly granted when,
taking all the allegations in the non-moving party's
pleadings as true, the moving party is entitled to judgment
as a matter of law."' United States v. Teng Jiao
Zhou, 815 F.3d 639, 642 (9th Cir. 2016) (quoting
Fajardo v. Cty. of Los Angeles, 179 F.3d 698, 699
(9th Cir. 1999)). Like a motion to dismiss for failure to
state a claim under Rule 12(b)(6), a motion for judgment on
the pleadings challenges the legal sufficiency of the
opposing party's pleadings. Dworkin v. Hustler
Magazine, Inc., 867 F.2d 1188, 1192 (9th Cir. 1989).
Motions for Summary Judgment
judgment is appropriate "if the movant shows that there
is no genuine dispute as to any material fact and the movant
is entitled to judgment as a matter of law."
Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(a). A factual dispute is genuine "if the
evidence is such that a reasonable jury could return a
verdict for the nonmoving party." Anderson v.
Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 248 (1986). In ruling
on a motion for summary judgment, the court must draw all
reasonable inferences in favor of the nonmoving party and may