Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

Rediger v. Country Mutual Insurance Co.

United States District Court, D. Oregon, Eugene Division

December 13, 2018

JARED REDIGER, MYRANDA REDIGER, and HAYSTORM HARVESTING & FIBER, INC., Plaintiffs,
v.
COUNTRY MUTUAL INSURANCE COMPANY, Defendant. COUNTRY MUTUAL INSURANCE COMPANY, Third-Party Plaintiff,
v.
ROBERT BRONSON, Third-Party Defendant.

          OPINION AND ORDER

          ANN AIKEN, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

         This dispute concerns defendant Country Mutual Insurance Company's ("Country Mutual") alleged failure to issue a policy on terms agreed to between plaintiffs Jared and Myranda Rediger ("plaintiffs") and insurance agent and third-party defendant Robert Bronson ("Bronson"). Country Mutual seeks to amend its amended third-party complaint to expand the scope of its claim against Bronson. For the reasons set for below, Country Mutual's motion is granted.

         BACKGROUND

         In June 2014, third-party defendant Bronson, a licensed insurance agent, visited plaintiffs' property in connection with issuing them an insurance policy. Plaintiffs allege that Bronson told them they would be covered for liability, property, and business interruption from perils, including fire. Plaintiffs gave Bronson a check for the first six months of premiums due under the policy. For the next six months, although plaintiffs never received a written insurance policy, Bronson allegedly assured them they were covered.

         After the fire, plaintiffs promptly notified Bronson and Country Mutual, and Country Mutual accepted their claim. Country Mutual also, for the first time, issued a written policy to plaintiffs. Plaintiffs hired a public adjusting company, which assessed that the fire caused $2.5 million in property damage and up to $900, 000 in lost business. Country Mutual paid plaintiffs nearly $1.6 million in property damage but otherwise denied the claim, in part because business interruption was not covered under the terms of the written policy.

         In December 2016, plaintiffs filed this action. They alleged that Country Mutual had failed to issue a written policy in conformance with the oral agreement plaintiffs had reached with Bronson. In May 2017, Country Mutual filed its Answer and Third-Party Complaint, alleging that third-party defendant Robert Bronson, plaintiffs' insurance agent, negligently handled plaintiffs' application for insurance coverage. Country Mutual sought indemnification and contribution from Bronson.

         On June 22, 2018, Country Mutual filed a motion seeking to amend its third-party complaint against Brsonson, about two months after the deadline to file amended pleadings. See Motion to Amend (doc. 63); Jan. 9, 2018, Order Granting Motion for Extension of Discovery and Pretrial Order Deadlines (doc. 48). Specifically, Country Mutual wants to expand the scope of its claim for statutory contribution under Or. Rev. Stat. § 31.800. In its First Amended Answer and Third-Party Complaint, Country Mutual alleged that, "if any judgment is entered against Defendant/Third-Party Plaintiff, it is entitled to contribution from Third-Party Defendant in the amount equal to Third-Party Defendant's portion degree of fault." First Am. Compl. ¶ 23. Country Mutual also sought "damages from Third Party Defendant in contribution according to proof at trial." First Am. Compl. ¶ 24. Country Mutual now seeks leave to amend its allegations to include all sums paid to plaintiffs in satisfaction of their insurance claim, including the $1.6 million paid before this lawsuit was filed and any future payments. Bronson opposes the motion on the grounds that it is untimely and prejudicial. On September 7, 2018, the parties appeared for oral argument on this motion.

         STANDARDS

         When a party seeks to amend a pleading under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 15 after the date specified in the scheduling order, the district court must first determine whether that party has shown "good cause" for amending the scheduling order under Rule 16(b). Branch Banking & Tr. Co. v. D.M.S.I., LLC, 871 F.3d 751, 764 (9th Cir. 2017); Johnson v. Mammoth Recreations, Inc., 975 F.2d 604, 609 (9th Cir. 1992). "Rule 16(b)'s 'good cause' standard primarily considers the diligence of the party seeking the amendment. The district court may modify the pretriai schedule 'if it cannot reasonably be met despite the diligence of the party seeking the extension.'" Johnson, 975 F.2d at 609 (quoting Fed.R.Civ.P. 16 advisory committee's notes (1983 amendment)). If the moving "party was not diligent, the inquiry should end." Branch Banking & Trust Co., 871 F.3d at 764 (quoting Johnson, 975 F.2d at 607-08). On the other hand, if "good cause" is shown, "the party must demonstrate that amendment was proper under Rule 15," Johnson, 975 F.2d at 609.

         Rule 15(a)(2) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure provides that "[t]he court should freely give leave [to amend a pleading] when justice so requires." A district court should apply the rule's "policy of favoring amendments ., . with extreme liberality." Price v. Kramer, 200 F.3d 1237, 1250 (9th Cir. 2000) (quotation marks omitted). In determining whether to grant leave to amend, the district court considers the presence of any of four factors: (1) bad faith, (2) undue delay, (3) prejudice to the opposing party, and (4) futility. Owens v. Kaiser Found. Health Plan, Inc., 244 F.3d 708, 712 (9th Cir. 2001).

         DISCUSSION

         Because Country Mutual filed its motion for leave to amend after the deadline for such filings, the Court must determine whether defendant has shown "good cause" to modify the scheduling order under Rule 16 before considering whether amendment is proper under Rule 15.

         I. "Good Cause" Under Rule 16

         Country Mutual asserts that it diligently filed its motion for leave to amend in response to new information learned through the depositions of Bronson's assistants, Dawn Cate and Susan Mespelt on April 17, 2018. The deadline for amending pleadings was April 23, 2018. (doc. 48). Country Mutual ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.