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Siltronic Corp. v. Employers Insurance Company of Wausau

United States District Court, D. Oregon

March 29, 2018

SILTRONIC CORPORATION, a Delaware corporation, Plaintiff,
v.
EMPLOYERS INSURANCE COMPANY OF WAUSAU, a Wisconsin corporation, and GRANITE STATE INSURANCE COMPANY, a Pennsylvania corporation, Defendants.

          ORDER

          ANNA J. BROWN, UNITED STATES SENIOR DISTRICT JUDGE.

         Magistrate Judge Youlee Yim You issued a Findings and Recommendation (F&R) (#412) in this case on December 29, 2017, in which she recommends the Court:

1. GRANT Plaintiff Siltronic Corporation's Motion (#333) for Partial Summary Judgment Regarding Granite State's Duty to Pay Defense Outside Limits;
2. GRANT in part Defendant Granite State Insurance Company's Motion (#338) for Partial Summary Judgment against Employer's Insurance Company of Wasau on the basis that Granite State is not obligated to pay defense costs outside policy limits until all Wausau policies have been exhausted and DENY in part Granite State's Motion insofar as it is premature for this Court to order Wausau to reimburse Granite State for defense costs; and
3. GRANT in part Granite State's Motion (#339) for Partial Summary Judgment insofar as the “Following Form” endorsements do not transform Granite State's policies into primary policies and Granite State also does not have any duty to defend under the “Supplemental Defense” provisions and DENY in part Granite State's Motion on the basis that the “Following Form” endorsements impose a duty to defend after the horizontal exhaustion of Wausau's policies.

         On January 19, 2018, Granite State filed Objections (#421) to portions of the Magistrate Judge's F&R. On February 2, 2018, both Siltronic and Wausau filed Responses (#433 and #434 respectively) to Granite State's Objections.

         On January 19, 2018, Wausau also filed Objections (#422) to portions of the Magistrate Judge's F&R. Granite State filed a Response (#432) to Wausau's Objections on February 2, 2018.

         The Court concludes the record on these Motions is sufficiently developed and that oral argument would not be helpful to resolve these Motions at this stage.

         When any party objects to any portion of the Magistrate Judge's Findings and Recommendation, the district court must make a de novo determination of that portion of the Magistrate Judge's report. 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1). See also Dawson v. Marshall, 561 F.3d 930, 932 (9th Cir. 2009); United States v. Reyna-Tapia, 328 F.3d 1114, 1121 (9th Cir. 2003)(en banc).

         I. Granite State's Objections Regarding Duty to Defend

         Granite State first objects to the F&R on the basis that the Magistrate Judge erroneously concluded Granite State has a duty to defend Siltronic outside the policy limits under the Following Form endorsements in the Granite State insurance policies. After reviewing the F&R, Granite State's Objections (#421), Siltronic's Response (#433), and the relevant portions of the record, the Court OVERRULES Granite State's Objections and ADOPTS Section II(A) of the F&R as this Court's opinion.

         II. Wausau's Objections Regarding Horizontal Exhaustion

         Wausau objects to the Magistrate Judge's finding that all underlying Wausau insurance policies must be exhausted before any of Granite State's duties under its excess insurance policies are triggered. Wausau contends Granite State owes Siltronic a duty to defend notwithstanding any lack of horizontal exhaustion under the “Supplemental Defense” provision in the insurance agreement. In addition, Wausau contends the “Following Form” endorsement overrides the language in the definition of “ultimate net loss” that the Magistrate Judge relied on to find horizontal exhaustion applies.

         The Court notes Wausau's Objections largely reiterate arguments previously made to the Magistrate Judge. Although this Court (like the Magistrate Judge) acknowledges the closeness of the question, the Court concludes the Magistrate Judge's finding is well-reasoned as to the issue of the Granite State insurance agreement ...


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