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Goodman v. State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Co.

United States District Court, D. Colorado

October 15, 2014



WILLIAM J. MART├ŹNEZ, District Judge.

Plaintiff Kimberly Goodman ("Plaintiff") brings this action against State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Company ("Defendant"). Before the Court is Defendant's Motion for Partial Summary Judgment under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 56 ("Motion"). (ECF No. 88.) For the reasons set forth below, Defendant's Motion is denied.


This action relates to an Underinsured Motorist (UIM) claim arising from an automobile accident that occurred on April 17, 2009, in Colorado Springs, Colorado. (ECF No. 88 at 3-4.) Plaintiff's vehicle struck the side of Nicholas Roddey's truck as a result of Mr. Roddey's failure to yield the right of way. (ECF No. 88-1.) Plaintiff's husband reported the accident to a State Farm agent, but declined to file a claim. (ECF No. 88-2.)

On November 4, 2011, Plaintiff contacted Defendant regarding a potential UIM claim. (ECF No. 88-3.) Plaintiff next contacted Defendant on March 21, 2013 to inform Defendant that she had new counsel and that suit had been filed against Mr. Roddey (the "March 21 Letter"). (ECF No. 88-7.) The March 21 Letter also asked for permission to accept the limits of Mr. Roddey's insurance policy. ( Id. ) Defendant consented to the underlying settlement (ECF No. 88-8), and began investigating Plaintiff's claim (ECF No. 86-2).

Prior to Defendant responding to the March 21 Letter, Plaintiff mailed a letter to Defendant on March 22, 2013, requesting that Defendant settle Plaintiff's UIM claim for $100, 000, so that Plaintiff could settle with Mr. Roddey's insurance company (the "Demand Letter"). (ECF No. 94-1.) The Demand Letter gave Defendant thirty days to respond, and included relevant medical documents. ( Id.; ECF No. 94-2.)

On April 10, 2013, Defendant sent Plaintiff a letter (the "April 10 Letter"), informing her that the total amount of UIM coverage potentially available to Plaintiff was $300, 000.00, not $100, 000.00 as stated in the Dem and Letter. (ECF No. 86-4.) Defendant also informed Plaintiff that it did not have the "necessary information" to evaluate Plaintiff's UIM claim, and that "no supporting documentation" had been received for Defendant's review of Plaintiff's medical expenses. ( Id. )

On April 17, 2013, Defendant received a compact disk containing some of the records missing from the Demand Letter. (ECF No. 88 at 9.) Defendant responded to Plaintiff on April 25, 2013, acknowledging receipt of the records, and notifying Plaintiff that additional medical records were needed to properly evaluate her claim. (ECF No. 86-6.)

As of February 2014, Defendant had yet to respond to Plaintiff's demand, instead stating that it needed more information before it could complete Plaintiff's UIM claim. (ECF No. 93-3 at 15:5-24.)

On these facts, Plaintiff filed this action against Defendant on May 7, 2013, in the El Paso County District Court, alleging three claims for relief: (1) breach of contract; (2) bad faith breach of insurance contract; and (3) statutory damages. (ECF No. 4.) On May 28, 2013, Defendant removed the case to this Court. (ECF No. 1.) On March 14, 2014, Defendant filed a Motion for Partial Summary Judgment on Plaintiff's claims for bad faith breach of insurance contract and statutory damages. (ECF No. 88.) On April 4, 2014, Plaintiff filed its Opposition to Defendant's Motion (ECF No. 93), and Defendant filed its Reply on April 18, 2014 (ECF No. 99). On May 28, 2014, Defendant submitted a Stipulated Motion to Dismiss Plaintiff's First Claim for Relief with Prejudice (ECF No. 108), which the Court granted on May 28, 2014 (ECF No. 109).[1]

This Motion is now ripe for resolution.


Summary judgment is appropriate only if there is no genuine issue of material fact and the moving party is entitled to judgment as a matter of law. Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(c); Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 322 (1986); Henderson v. Inter-Chem Coal Co., Inc., 41 F.3d 567, 569 (10th Cir. 1994). Whether there is a genuine dispute as to a material fact depends upon whether the evidence presents a sufficient disagreement to require submission to a jury or conversely, is so one-sided that one party must prevail as a matter of law. Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, 477 U.S. 242, 248-49 (1986); Stone v. Autoliv ASP, Inc., 210 F.3d 1132 (10th Cir. 2000); Carey v. U.S. Postal Serv., 812 F.2d 621, 623 (10th Cir. 1987).

A fact is "material" if it pertains to an element of a claim or defense; a factual dispute is "genuine" if the evidence is so contradictory that if the matter went to trial, a reasonable party could return a verdict for either party. Anderson, 477 U.S. at 248. The Court must resolve factual ambiguities against the moving party, thus favoring ...

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