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Drobek v. Government Employees Insurance Co.

United States District Court, D. Colorado

July 23, 2018

SARAH DROBEK, Plaintiff,
v.
GOVERNMENT EMPLOYEES INSURANCE COMPANY, and GEICO GENERAL INSURANCE COMPANY, Defendants.

          ORDER

          R. Brooke Jackson United States District Judge

         This case comes before the Court on defendants' motion for summary judgment, ECF No. 75, and plaintiff's motion for partial summary judgment, ECF No. 78.[1] Defendants (collectively “GEICO”) subsequently filed a motion for leave to file a supplemental motion for summary judgment, ECF No. 87, but the Court declines GEICO's request and instead reviews the arguments presented in the original motions alone. Upon review of the briefings, the Court DENIES GEICO's motion for summary judgment. The Court GRANTS in part and DENIES in part plaintiff's motion for partial summary judgment.

         I. BACKGROUND

         This dispute arises from a state court case filed by Sarah Drobek in 2015, which in turn arises from Patrick Frank's having rear-ended her car on October 3, 2012. ECF No. 3 at 2. Both cars were totaled, and Ms. Drobek sustained injuries. Id.

         At the time of the crash, Mr. Frank was insured under a GEICO automobile insurance policy (“the Policy”). Section I of the Policy stated that:

[W]e will pay damages which an insured becomes legally obligated to pay because of:
1. Bodily injury, sustained by a person, and;
2. Damage to or destruction of property, arising out of the ownership, maintenance or use of the owned auto or a non-owned auto. We will defend any suit for damages payable under the terms of this policy. We may investigate and settle any claim or suit.

         ECF No. 78-3 at 4 (emphasis in original). The Policy defined an “insured” as follows:

Section I applies to the following as insureds with regard to an owned auto:
1. you and your relatives . . .
2. [omitted]
3. any . . . organization for . . . its liability because of the acts or omissions of an insured under 1. or 2. above.

Id. at 6 (emphasis in original).

         Ms. Drobek retained counsel, and in her complaint she asserted that Mr. Frank was working as an employee or agent of Obama for America (“OFA”) at the time of the crash. ECF No. 78-7. As such, she brought claims against Mr. Frank for negligence and against OFA asserting vicarious liability. Both were served with the complaint, and on November 12, 2015 Ms. Drobek's counsel forwarded a copy of the complaint to GEICO, together with proof of service on Mr. Frank and OFA.

         GEICO hired an attorney to represent Mr. Frank. The attorney filed an answer on Mr. Frank's behalf only, and on November 16, 2015 the attorney offered Ms. Drobek $50, 000 to settle Mr. Frank's claims. ECF No. 78-8. Ms. Drobek accepted and released her claims against Mr. Frank. The release and settlement agreement stated:

It is understood that Sarah Drobek filed suit and made claim against both Patrick S. Frank and Obama for America. In signing this release, Sarah reserves her right to continue with her claim against Obama for America. It is understood this release is solely for the benefit of Patrick S. Frank and is not intended ...

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