United States District Court, D. Idaho
SIMON V. LETE, Plaintiff,
TRAVELERS CASUALTY INSURANCE COMPANY OF AMERICA, a Connecticut company, Defendant.
MEMORANDUM DECISION AND ORDER
LYNN WINMILL UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
Simon Lete brought this action against Defendant Travelers
Casualty Insurance Company for breach of an insurance policy.
Travelers now moves for partial summary judgment on two
issues. Dkt. 10. First, Travelers argues that it did not
breach the implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing.
Second, Travelers argues that the insurance policy did not
cover losses arising solely from property damage. For reasons
discussed below, the Court will grant Defendant's Motion
for Partial Summary Judgment on both claims.
October 2015, Simon Lete was driving his dump truck when it
was struck by an uninsured motorist. Lete suffered injuries
to his right shoulder and his dump truck was damaged.
20, 2018, Lete filed a claim under his Underinsured Motorist
(UIM) insurance policy for the injuries and damages he
suffered. Letter from Kyle Duren to Juli Morrow re:
Demand & Proof of UIM Claim at 1, Dkt. 10-2 at 54.
Lete claimed economic damages for past medical expenses,
future medical expenses, out-of-pocket expenses, and wage
loss, as well as non-economic damages, for a total of $385,
336.27. Id. at 9. His claim demanded a response from
Travelers Casualty Insurance Company within sixty days.
Id. at 10.
agent Juli Morrow evaluated Lete's claim. She came to an
award determination based on special damages for past medical
expenses, lost income due to medical treatment, and mileage,
as well as general damages for pain and suffering.
Uninsured Motorist Worksheet at 2-5, Dkt. 10-2 at
35-38. Morrow did not include income loss arising from
Lete's dump truck repair because the UIM endorsement
“is for bodily injury only.” Morrow Depo.
Transcript at 38:1-25, Dkt. 15-1 at 15. On September 13,
Morrow called Lete's phone and left a voicemail offering
to settle the claim for $20, 938.47. Id. at 23:4-22.
At the time she left the voicemail, Lete had already
initiated this lawsuit against Travelers. Travelers had not
yet received notice or service regarding the suit.
Id. at 20:8-21:25.
October 25, Lete's counsel demanded that the $20, 938.47
settlement offer be paid as the “undisputed”
portion of Lete's claim. Email from Sam Johnson to
Ronald Clark, Oct. 25, 2018, Dkt. 15-1 at 33. Travelers
agreed to pay the amount with “no strings
attached” but maintained the position that the payment
represented a “fair and appropriate resolution on
[Lete's] UIM claim.” Email from Ronald Clark to
Sam Johnson, Nov. 20, 2018, Dkt. 15-1 at 34.
judgment is appropriate where a party can show that, as to
any claim or defense, “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). One of the
principal purposes of the summary judgment “is to
isolate and dispose of factually unsupported claims . . .
.” Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317,
323-24 (1986). It is “not a disfavored procedural
shortcut, ” but is instead the “principal tool[ ]
by which factually insufficient claims or defenses [can] be
isolated and prevented from going to trial with the attendant
unwarranted consumption of public and private
resources.” Id. at 327. “[T]he mere
existence of some alleged factual dispute between the parties
will not defeat an otherwise properly supported motion for
summary judgment.” Anderson v. Liberty Lobby,
Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 247-48 (1986). There must be a
genuine dispute as to any material fact - a fact
“that may affect the outcome of the case.”
Id. at 248.
evidence must be viewed in the light most favorable to the
non-moving party, and the Court must not make credibility
findings. Id. at 255. Direct testimony of the
non-movant must be believed, however implausible. Leslie
v. Grupo ICA, 198 F.3d 1152, 1159 (9th Cir. 1999). On
the other hand, the Court is not required to adopt
unreasonable inferences from circumstantial evidence.
McLaughlin v. Liu, 849 F.2d 1205, 1208 (9th Cir.
moving party bears the initial burden of demonstrating the
absence of a genuine dispute as to material fact.
Devereaux v. Abbey, 263 F.3d 1070, 1076 (9th Cir.
2001) (en banc). To carry this burden, the moving party need
not introduce any affirmative evidence (such as affidavits or
deposition excerpts) but may simply point out the absence of
evidence to support the nonmoving party's case.
Fairbank v. Wunderman Cato Johnson, 212 F.3d 528,
532 (9th Cir.2000).
shifts the burden to the non-moving party to produce evidence
sufficient to support a jury verdict in her favor.
Deveraux, 263 F.3d at 1076. The non-moving party
must go beyond the pleadings and show “by her [ ]
affidavits, or by the depositions, answers to
interrogatories, or admissions on file” that a genuine
dispute of material fact exists. Celotex, 477 U.S.
the Court is “not required to comb through the record
to find some reason to deny a motion for summary
judgment.” Carmen v. San Francisco Unified Sch.
Dist.,237 F.3d 1026, 1029 (9th Cir. 2001) (quotation
omitted). Instead, the “party opposing summary judgment
must direct [the Court's] attention to specific triable