King County v Travelers Indemnity Company et al
ORDER by Judge Barbara J. Rothstein denying Defendant Providence Washington Insurance Company's 295 Motion for Partial Summary Judgment. (PM)
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT FOR THE
WESTERN DISTRICT OF WASHINGTON
Civil Action No. 2:14-cv-01957-BJR
TRAVELERS INDEMNITY CO.,
INSURANCE CO., et al.,
ORDER DENYING DEFENDANT
MOTION FOR PARTIAL SUMMARY
Defendant Providence Washington Insurance Company (“Providence”) moves for
summary judgment on bad-faith claims brought by Plaintiff King County. Providence argues
that the County’s bad-faith claims fail as a matter of law because there is no underlying duty to
defend. Having already determined in its previous Order [Dkt. #444] that Providence breached
its duty to defend King County, the Court denies summary judgment on this basis.
Providence also asserts that the Court should grant summary judgment on King County’s
“request for coverage by estoppel” on the County’s bad-faith claims. Dkt. 295 at 8. Coverage
by estoppel allows an insured in some circumstances to maintain an action against its insurer for
bad faith “regardless of whether the insurer was ultimately correct in determining that coverage
did not exist.” Coventry Assocs v. Americans States Ins. Co., 961 P.2d 933, 937 (Wash. 1998).
In other words, coverage by estoppel is an alternative bad-faith theory for policyholders who are
not able to prove an actual bad-faith breach. However, the Court has already determined that
Providence breached the duty to defend, making any estoppel argument irrelevant to the ultimate
disposal of King County’s bad-faith claims. Therefore, Providence’s Motion for Partial
Summary Judgment [Dkt. #295] is denied.
Dated this 13th day of February, 2017.
Barbara Jacobs Rothstein
U.S. District Court Judge
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