United States District Court, D. Colorado
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
Y. Wang United States Magistrate Judge.
Judge Nina Y. Wang This matter comes before the court on
three motions filed by Defendant State Farm Mutual Automobile
Insurance Company (“State Farm” or
(1) Defendant's Motion for Summary Judgment [#30, filed
June 14, 2019];
(2) Defendant's Motion to Stay Discovery (“Motion
to Stay”) [#31, filed June 14, 2019]; and
(3) Defendant's Unopposed Motion for Leave to File Excess
Pages [#35, filed July 10, 2019].
undersigned Magistrate Judge considers the Motions pursuant
to 28 U.S.C. § 636(c) and the Order of Reference for all
purposes [#15]. This court concludes that oral argument will
not materially assist in the resolution of these matters.
Accordingly, having reviewed the Motion and associated
briefing, the applicable case law, and the entire docket, the
court DENIES Defendant's Motion for
Summary Judgment without prejudice, with leave to re-file and
DENIES AS MOOT the Motion to Stay and
Unopposed Motion for Leave to File Excess Pages.
civil action arises out of an insurance dispute between
Plaintiff James Roberts (“Plaintiff” or
“Mr. Roberts”) and his insurer State Farm.
See [#1; #28]. About February 2017, Plaintiff
sustained bodily injuries because of an automobile collision.
[#28 at ¶¶ 7-8]. Believing his medical bills were
more than the tortfeasor's own insurance limits,
Plaintiff sought additional underinsured motorist
(“UIM”) benefits from State Farm. See
[id. at ¶ 9].
Parties exchanged several rounds of correspondence regarding
Mr. Roberts's UIM claim. See [id. at
¶¶ 10-46]. Specifically, on April 17, 2018, State
Farm offered $59, 319.45 to settle Plaintiff's claim.
[Id. at ¶ 11]. Then, on June 12, 2018, State
Farm wrote Mr. Roberts and stated that it had evaluated $23,
500 for pain and suffering for Plaintiff's UIM claim.
[Id. at ¶ 14]. Though State Farm tendered
benefits in the amount of $35, 819.45 under the insurance
policy, see [id. at ¶¶19-20],
Plaintiff initiated this civil action asserting claims for
breach of contract and unreasonable delay or denial of an
insurance benefit pursuant to Colo. Rev. Stat. §
10-3-1115 (“statutory bad faith”) on February 6,
2019, see [#1]. Following service of the Complaint
on February 11, 2019, Defendant tendered an additional $23,
500 in benefits as a reasonable amount owed to Plaintiff.
See [#28 at ¶ 49].
here, Mr. Roberts filed a Motion to Amend his Complaint on
May 31, 2019. See [#25]. Then, on June 13, 2019, the
Parties appeared before the undersigned for an informal
telephonic discovery dispute conference regarding the Rule
30(b)(6) Notice issued to State Farm by Plaintiff. As
confirmed by the court's review of the electronic
recording of the conference, Plaintiff conceded that he was
not seeking any additional UIM benefits under the policy, but
he continued to argue that Defendant's payment of the
$23, 500 constituted a confession of the breach of contract
claim. [#27]. Also at this conference, Defendant indicated
that it would not oppose the Motion to Amend in favor of
filing of a dispositive motion, and thus the undersigned
granted the Motion to Amend and deemed the Amended Complaint
the operative pleading in this matter. See [#27].
The Amended Complaint, like the Complaint, asserts a breach
of contract and statutory bad faith claim. See
[#28]. Defendant then discussed its intention to file the
instant Motion to Stay requesting that the court stay all
discovery pending its determination of a forthcoming
dispositive motion directed at the Amended
Complaint. See [id.].
14, State Farm filed an Answer [#29]; a Motion for Summary
Judgment, arguing that it is entitled to judgment as a matter
of law on Plaintiff's statutory bad faith claim [#30];
and the instant Motion to Stay [#31]. Plaintiff has since
filed his Response to the Motion to Stay [#33], and the court
prohibited any Reply absent leave of the court; no such leave
has been requested. Plaintiff has also filed his Response to
the Motion for Summary Judgment [#34]. Though the time to
Reply to the Motion for Summary Judgment has not yet lapsed,
the issues presented by the Motion to Stay are intertwined
with the Motion for Summary Judgment and this court finds
that it is appropriate to adjudicate both matters
presently. See D.C.COLO.LCivR 7.1(d). I
therefore consider the Parties' arguments below.
Motion for Summary Judgment
Farm moves for summary judgment in its favor on the second
claim for relief, i.e., violation of Colo. Rev. Stat. §
10-3-1115(1)(a) for unreasonable delay of the payment of Mr.
Roberts's UIM claim. Summary judgment is appropriate only if
“the movant shows that there is no genuine dispute as
to any material fact and the movant is entitled to judgment
as a matter of law.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(a); 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). “A ‘judge's
function' at summary judgment is not ‘to weigh the
evidence and determine the truth of the matter but to
determine whether there is a genuine issue for
trial.'” Tolan v. Cotton, 572 U.S. 650,
656 (2014) (quoting Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, 477
U.S. 242, 249 (1986)).
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, 477 U.S. at 248-49; Stone v. Autoliv
ASP, Inc., 210 F.3d 1132, 1136 (10th Cir. 2000);
Carey v. U.S. Postal Service, 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. “Where the record
taken as a whole could not lead a rational trier of fact to
find for the non-moving party, there is no ‘genuine
issue for trial.'” Matsushita Elec. Indus. Co.,
Ltd. v. Zenith Radio Corp., 475 U.S. 574, 587 (1986)
(citing First Nat. Bank of Ariz. v. Cities Service
Co., 391 U.S. 253, 289 (1968)).
Motion to Stay
Federal Rules of Civil Procedure do not provide for the stay
of proceedings while a motion to dismiss is pending. Instead,
Rule 1 instructs that the rules of procedure ‘shall be
construed and administered to secure the just, speedy, and
inexpensive determination of every action.'”
Sutton v. Everest Nat'l Ins. Co., No. 07 CV
00425-WYD-BNB, 2007 WL 1395309, at *1 (D. Colo. May 9, 2007).
Nonetheless, when ruling on a motion to stay, courts weigh
the following factors: (1) the plaintiff's interests in
expeditiously litigating this action and the potential
prejudice to plaintiff of a delay; (2) the burden on the
defendants; (3) the convenience to the court; (4) the
interests of persons not parties to the civil litigation; and
(5) the public interest. String Cheese Incident, LLC v.
Stylus Shows, Inc., No. 1:02-CV-01934-LTB-PAC, 2006 WL
894955, at *2 (D. Colo. Mar. 30, 2006). But “stays of
the normal proceedings of a court matter should be the
exception rather than the rule, ” Ch ...