St. Paul Fire and Marine Insurance Company et al v. Pierce Manufacturing Inc.

Filing 56

ORDER granting in part 42 Plaintiff's Motion for Summary Judgment; signed by Judge Ronald B. Leighton.(DN)

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1 HONORABLE RONALD B. LEIGHTON 2 3 4 5 6 UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT WESTERN DISTRICT OF WASHINGTON AT TACOMA 7 8 9 ST. PAUL FIRE AND MARINE INSURANCE COMPANY, CASE NO. C15-5705-RBL ORDER RE MONIES OWED 10 11 12 13 Plaintiff, v. PIERCE MANUFACTURING INC., DKT. #42 Defendant. 14 THIS MATTER is before the Court on Plaintiffs St. Paul Fire and Marine Insurance 15 Company and Cities Insurance Association of Washington’s Motion for Summary Judgment 16 [Dkt. #42]. The Insurance Companies bring their motion to support the only remaining issue in 17 the case: whether Defendant Pierce Manufacturing owes them $349, 944.61 in restitution for 18 costs and fees they incurred defending against claims that a fire truck built by Pierce suffered 19 from design and manufacturing defects. 20 In an earlier motion, the Insurance Companies argued Pierce breached its duty to defend 21 their insured, East Pierce Fire & Rescue (a fire department), against claims brought by its 22 employee, Roorda. The Insurance Companies sought $362,815.11 in total damages, claiming 23 Cities paid the first $100,000 in defense costs, and St. Paul paid $253,196.11. (They never 24 ORDER RE MONIES OWED - 1 1 explained the source of the additional $9,619.00 they were requesting.) The Court determined 2 Pierce had to indemnify and defend the Fire Department against Roorda’s claims regarding the 3 trucks’ design and manufacture only—not also against his claims that the Fire Department had 4 acted negligently. See Dkt. #41 (Order Granting Insurance Companies’ Motion for Summary 5 Judgment on Liability but Reserving Judgment on the Amount of Damages Owed). The Court 6 concluded Pierce breached this duty, but did not award damages because the Insurance 7 Companies had not provided an itemized list of how they incurred their costs and fees in the 8 underlying allegation, such that the Court could not deduct the costs and fees they spent 9 defending against the negligence claims. 10 The Insurance Companies now request $349, 944.61 for defense of the design and 11 manufacturing defect claims.1 (They claim only $12,870.50 was spent defending against the 12 negligence and other claims.) Pierce argues the Insurance Companies grossly exaggerate the 13 amount owed by (1) failing to consider whether they would have incurred certain costs and fees 14 even if there were no products liability claim and by (2) including costs and fees incurred before 15 the Insurance Companies tendered defense of the case and those incurred in bringing this case. 16 Pierce argues the Insurance Companies only spent $172,674.99 defending against Roorda’s 17 products liability claims, and they have provided no evidence that they even paid this bill. The 18 Insurance Companies reply they paid for all defense costs in the underlying lawsuit, and it is the 19 Court’s prerogative to determine how much of a “haircut” to apply to their fee request. 20 21 1 Pierce also asks the Court to strike the Insurance Companies’ motion as untimely, because they filed it after the dispositive motions deadline. After deciding liability, the Court 23 requested additional information to calculate the Insurance Companies’ damages award. It is specious to suggest the Court cannot extend its own deadlines. Pierce’s request to strike is 24 DENIED. 22 DKT. #42 - 2 1 When evaluating the number of hours reasonably expended, a court must generally 2 segregate time spent on successful claims from hours spent on unsuccessful claims, covered 3 claims from un-covered claims, duplicated effort, and productive time from unproductive time. 4 See Supervalu Holdings v. Morris, No. C09-5351BHS, 2011 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 20351, at *9 5 (W.D. Wash. Feb. 17, 2011) (citing Hume v. American Disposal Co., 124 Wn. 2d 656, 673, 880 6 P.2d 988 (1994)). 7 The Fire Department tendered defense to Pierce on February 9, 2012. The trial court 8 granted the Fire Department’s motion to dismiss Roorda’s negligence claims on April 5, 2013, 9 leaving only his products liability claims. The case was resolved on June 26, 2013. 10 Between February 2012 and April 2013, the Fire Department spent approximately 11 $120,000. Approximately 1/3 of this amount was spent defending against Roorda’s negligence 12 claims, and approximately 2/3 was spent defending against his products liability claims. The 13 Insurance Companies can recover $80,000 for the costs and expenses incurred regarding the 14 products liability claims. Between April 5 and June 26, the Fire Department incurred 15 approximately $170,000—an amount the Insurance Companies may recover entirely because it is 16 solely attributable to Roorda’s products liability claims. The Insurance Companies may not 17 recover the costs and expenses they incurred after resolution of the underlying case. Pierce owes 18 // 19 // 20 // 21 // 22 // 23 24 DKT. #42 - 3 1 the Insurance Companies $250,000 in reimbursement for the fees and costs they incurred 2 defending the Fire Department against Roorda’s products liability claims. 3 IT IS SO ORDERED. 4 Dated this 3rd day of February, 2017. 6 A 7 Ronald B. Leighton United States District Judge 5 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 DKT. #42 - 4

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