Great America Insurance Company et al v. Chang et al

Filing 80

Order by Hon. Samuel Conti denying 78 Motion for Reconsideration.(sclc1, COURT STAFF) (Filed on 7/31/2013)

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1 2 3 4 5 6 IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT 7 FOR THE NORTHERN DISTRICT OF CALIFORNIA 8 United States District Court For the Northern District of California 9 10 GREAT AMERICAN INSURANCE COMPANY, and GREAT AMERICAN INSURANCE COMPANY OF NEW YORK, 11 Plaintiffs, 12 v. 13 15 MICHAEL CHANG, d/b/a SUNRISE CLEANERS, INC., and ROXANNE CHANG, d/b/a SUNRISE CLEANERS, INC., 16 Defendants. 14 ) Case No. 12-00833-SC ) ) ORDER DENYING MOTION FOR ) RECONSIDERATION ) ) ) ) ) ) ) ) ) ) ) 17 18 I. 19 INTRODUCTION On June 19, 2013, the Court granted Great American Insurance 20 Company and Great American Insurance Company of New York's 21 (collectively, "Great American") motion for partial summary 22 judgment. 23 Roxanne Chang now move for reconsideration of the Summary Judgment 24 Order. 25 Motion, but the Changs declined to file a reply. 26 ("Opp'n"). 27 /// 28 /// ECF No. 77 ("SJ Order"). ECF No. 78 ("Mot."). Defendants Michael Chang and Great American has opposed the ECF No. 79 For the reasons set forth below, the Motion is DENIED. 1 2 II. BACKGROUND The Court assumes familiarity with the facts and legal 3 opinions recited in the Summary Judgment Order. 4 case involves an insurance coverage dispute arising from underlying 5 state court actions and government orders concerning the alleged 6 contamination of a property owned by Michael Chang (the 7 "Property"). 8 (collectively, the "Changs"), operated a dry cleaning business on 9 the property from 1977 to 1981. In short, this Michael Chang and his wife, Defendant Roxanne Chang The Changs purchased third-party United States District Court For the Northern District of California 10 liability insurance for the premises from Great American for the 11 period of 1977 to 1983. 12 About a decade later, the Changs leased the Property to Bilal 13 Kartal, who operated an Italian restaurant on the premises. 14 around 2002, a peculiar odor emanating from the restaurant began 15 driving away Kartal's customers. 16 that the odor was caused by underground storage tanks that were 17 leaking dry cleaning solvent, Kartal brought a nuisance action 18 against the Changs. 19 judgment that it does not have a duty to defend or indemnify the 20 Changs with respect to Kartal's nuisance action, as well as a 21 number of related suits, because the property damage alleged by 22 Kartal did not occur during the 1977 to 1983 policy period. 23 In or In 2006, after Kartal discovered Great American now seeks a declaratory The Court ultimately granted Great American's motion for 24 partial summary judgment. 25 relied on California case law distinguishing between causative 26 events and resulting property damage. 27 the latter injury or damage that must 'occur' during the policy 28 period, and 'which results' from the accident or 'continuous and In reaching its decision, the Court 2 SJ Order at 14-15. "It is 1 repeated exposure to conditions.'" 2 Corp. v. Admiral Ins. Co., 10 Cal. 4th 645, 669 (Cal. 1995)). 3 Court held that Kartal's complaint did not trigger coverage because 4 it alleged causative events -- not resulting property damage -- 5 that occurred during the Changs' policy period. Id. (quoting Montrose Chem. The Id. at 15-16. 6 7 III. DISCUSSION 8 9 The Changs now move the Court to reconsider the Summary Judgment Order. Their motion fails on both procedural and United States District Court For the Northern District of California 10 substantive grounds. 11 violates Civil Local Rule 7-9. 12 prohibits a party from moving for reconsideration without first 13 obtaining leave of the Court. 14 have done here. 15 As a procedural matter, the Changs' motion Subsection (a) of the rule That is precisely what the Changs The Changs have also violated Civil Local Rule 7-9(b), which 16 provides that a party moving for reconsideration must specifically 17 show: 18 (1) That at the time of the motion for leave, a material difference in fact or law exists from that which was presented to the Court before entry of the interlocutory order for which reconsideration is sought. The party also must show that in the exercise of reasonable diligence the party applying for reconsideration did not know such fact or law at the time of the interlocutory order; or (2) 19 The emergence of new material facts or a change of law occurring after the time of such order; or (3) A manifest failure by the Court to consider material facts or dispositive legal arguments which were presented to the Court before such interlocutory order. 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 3 1 The Changs have not shown a material difference in law or fact -- 2 they rely on many of the same cases and facts that they discussed 3 in their opposition to Great American's motion for summary 4 judgment. 5 to consider dispositive arguments. 6 with the Court's ultimate conclusions. Nor have they pointed to a manifest failure by the Court Rather, they merely disagree 7 Even if reconsideration of the Court's conclusions was 8 procedurally proper, as a substantive matter, the Changs have yet 9 to present any persuasive arguments in favor of finding that Great United States District Court For the Northern District of California 10 American has a duty to defend or indemnify. The Changs' motion for 11 reconsideration, like their opposition to Great American's motion 12 for summary judgment, ignores the distinction between causative 13 events and resulting property damage. 14 down to the following: Kartal's alleged property damage must have 15 occurred during the 1977 to 1983 policy period because Kartal 16 alleges that the pollution discharge on the property began "at 17 least as far back as 1969" and continued through 2005. 18 the Court held in the Summary Judgment Order, the pollution 19 discharge is only a causative event, which is irrelevant for the 20 purpose of determining coverage.1 Their arguments largely boil However, as 21 1 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 The only new argument advanced by the Motion is that Kartal's action could trigger coverage if Kartal amended his complaint to allege new facts identified through discovery. Mot. at 4-7. However, the Changs have not identified any new facts that Kartal could possibly allege, other than additional facts concerning when the solvent leak started. As discussed above, these facts are irrelevant for the purpose of determining coverage. Moreover, the cases cited by the Changs do not support their contention that the Court should consider hypothetical amendments. Rather they stand for the proposition that, in assessing the potential for coverage, courts should consider the facts alleged rather than the causes of action asserted. See Hudson Ins. Co. v. Colony Ins. Co., 624 F.3d 1264, 1267 (9th Cir. 2010); Dobrin v. Allstate Ins. Co., 897 F. Supp. 442, 444 (C.D. Cal. 1995). 4 1 The Changs also haphazardly cite to a number of cases that See Mot. at 7-10. 2 they contend require "further consideration." 3 The Court already considered and distinguished many of these cases 4 in its Summary Judgment Order and declines to revisit them again. 5 The other cases cited by the Changs, including Standard Fire Ins. 6 Co. v. Spectrum Cmty. Ass'n, 141 Cal. App. 4th 1117 (Cal. Ct. App. 7 2006), and State v. Allstate Ins. Co., 45 Cal. 4th 1008 (Cal. 8 2009), do not support reversal of the Summary Judgment Order. 9 example, the Court in Standard Fire recognized the distinction For United States District Court For the Northern District of California 10 between causative events and resulting property damage, and found 11 for the insured because the alleged property damage occurred during 12 the policy period. 141 Cal. App. 4th at 1126-27. 13 Since the motion for reconsideration repeats many of the 14 arguments set forth in the Changs' opposition to Great American's 15 motion for summary judgment, the Changs have also violated Civil 16 Local Rule 7-9(c), which provides: "No motion for leave to file a 17 motion for reconsideration may repeat any oral or written argument 18 made by the applying party in support of or in opposition to the 19 interlocutory order which the party now seeks to have 20 reconsidered." 21 Rule 7-9(c) warrants sanctions. 22 the rule provides that "[a]ny party who violates this restriction 23 shall be subject to appropriate sanctions." 24 Great American argues that the Changs' violation of The Court agrees, especially since Civ. L.R. 7-9(c). Even if Rule 7-9(c) did not expressly require sanctions, this 25 is not the only time that the Changs have blatantly disregarded the 26 Local Rules. 27 Rule 7-9(a) and 7-9(b) in connection with this motion. 28 Additionally, they violated Civil Local Rule 7-3(a) when they filed As noted above, the Changs also violated Civil Local 5 1 a surreply brief in connection with Great American's motion for 2 summary judgment without first seeking leave of the Court. 3 Order at 3 n.1. 4 case, also noted that the Changs failed to comply with several 5 local rules when they filed a motion to dismiss on May 16, 2012. 6 ECF No. 14. SJ Judge Beeler, who was previously assigned to this While the Changs' violations are numerous, they are not 7 8 altogether serious. 9 Accordingly, the Court limits the sanction award to $500. United States District Court For the Northern District of California 10 11 12 IV. CONCLUSION For the foregoing reasons, the Changs' motion for 13 reconsideration is DENIED. The Court awards Great American 14 sanctions in the amount of $500. 15 responsible for paying these sanctions. The Changs' counsel alone is 16 17 IT IS SO ORDERED. 18 19 20 Dated: July 31, 2013 UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 6

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