Link et al v. American Family Mutual Insurance Company

Filing 40

ORDER denying plaintiffs' 38 Motion for Reconsideration signed by Judge Richard A Jones.(RS)

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THE HONORABLE RICHARD A. JONES 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT WESTERN DISTRICT OF WASHINGTON AT SEATTLE 8 9 10 11 KATHLEEN LINK and RUSSELL LINK, NO. 2:16-cv-01117-RAJ 12 Plaintiffs, vs. 13 14 15 ORDER AMERICAN FAMILY MUTUAL INSURANCE COMPANY, Defendant. 16 17 18 I. This matter comes before the Court on Plaintiffs Kathleen and Russell Link’s 19 20 INTRODUCTION motion for reconsideration of the Court’s May 8, 2017 order granting a stay in the 21 proceedings. Dkts. # 37, 28. For the reasons that follow, the Court DENIES 22 23 24 25 26 Plaintiffs’ motion. II. LEGAL STANDARD Pursuant to this Court’s Local Civil Rules, “[m]otions for reconsideration are disfavored.” LCR 7(h). The Court will only grant such a motion upon a “showing of ORDER - 1 1 manifest error in the prior ruling” or “new facts or legal authority which could not 2 have been brought to [the court’s] attention earlier with reasonable diligence.” Id. 3 III. DISCUSSION 4 5 The facts of this case are well known to the Court and the parties, and the Court 6 will not recount them here. Plaintiffs request that the Court reconsider its order 7 granting a stay pending the outcome of an independent proceeding in the Washington 8 Court of Appeals, arguing that the result of that appeal will not affect the instant 9 10 proceeding in this Court. The Court concluded in its previous Order that “the viability 11 of Plaintiffs’ bad-faith claims depends on the validity of the stipulated judgment” that 12 is now being appealed. Dkt. # 37. 13 Plaintiffs renew their argument that the Washington Court of Appeals is 14 15 powerless to invalidate the settlement underlying the stipulated judgment assigning 16 Plaintiffs the claims they bring here. In their brief opposing the stay, Plaintiffs 17 contended that “[t]he Court [of Appeals] cannot simply ‘rescind’ the binding 18 settlement agreement and assignment between the Wallys and Links. Even if Division 19 20 I decided to overturn a Division I Judge’s reasonableness determination, the only issue 21 impacted is the amount of damages, and that would then be decided in binding 22 arbitration.” Dkt. # 29 at 8. Plaintiffs cited no law supporting their argument that the 23 appellate court’s review has no bearing on the validity of the assignment of claims. 24 25 26 Now, for the first time, Plaintiffs direct the Court’s attention to RCW 4.22.060(3), which provides: ORDER - 2 A determination that the amount paid for a release, covenant not to sue, covenant not to enforce judgment, or similar agreement was unreasonable shall not affect the validity of the agreement between the released and releasing persons nor shall any adjustment be made in the amount paid between the parties to the agreement. 1 2 3 4 Given the plain text of the statute, it appears that Plaintiffs’ argument is, indeed, 5 6 meritorious. 7 authority could not have been brought to the Court’s attention sooner. Nor have 8 However, Plaintiffs have not provided an explanation for why this Plaintiffs shown that the Court’s discretionary issuance of a stay rises to a level of 9 manifest error that injures them in any way. See Dkt # 37 at 4. Therefore, the Court’s 10 11 decision granting a stay will stand. But, as requested by Plaintiffs, the Court clarifies 12 that the stay will be lifted after a decision from Division 1 of the Court of Appeals and 13 will not be extended even in the event that the Washington Supreme Court reviews the 14 case. 15 16 IV. CONCLUSION 17 For all the foregoing reasons, the Court DENIES Plaintiffs’ motion for 18 19 20 reconsideration. Dated this 30th day of August, 2017. 21 A 22 23 The Honorable Richard A. Jones United States District Judge 24 25 26 ORDER - 3

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