Tracy Mitchell v. State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Company

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REL: 10/07/2011 Notice: T h i s o p i n i o n i s s u b j e c t t o f o r m a l r e v i s i o n b e f o r e p u b l i c a t i o n i n t h e advance s h e e t s o f Southern R e p o r t e r . R e a d e r s a r e r e q u e s t e d t o n o t i f y t h e R e p o r t e r o f D e c i s i o n s , Alabama A p p e l l a t e C o u r t s , 300 D e x t e r A v e n u e , M o n t g o m e r y , A l a b a m a 3 6 1 0 4 - 3 7 4 1 ( ( 3 3 4 ) 2 2 9 - 0 6 4 9 ) , o f a n y t y p o g r a p h i c a l o r o t h e r e r r o r s , i n o r d e r t h a t c o r r e c t i o n s may b e made b e f o r e t h e o p i n i o n i s p r i n t e d i n Southern R e p o r t e r . ALABAMA COURT OF CIVIL APPEALS OCTOBER TERM, 2011-2012 2100184 Tracy M i t c h e l l v. S t a t e Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Company Appeal from Lauderdale C i r c u i t Court (CV-09-900191) PITTMAN, This Judge. appeal application presents a question regarding o f t h e "common-fund" e x c e p t i o n the proper to the so-called "American r u l e , " w h i c h g e n e r a l l y b a r s awards o f a t t o r n e y f e e s to p r e v a i l i n g p a r t i e s , i n t h e c o n t e x t o f a d i s p u t e b e t w e e n an 2100184 i n j u r e d i n s u r e d p a r t y and a s u b r o g a t e d insurance c a r r i e r over whether the c a r r i e r i s r e s p o n s i b l e f o r a p r o r a t a share of the insured's a t t o r n e y fees i n c u r r e d i n the process of obtaining a s e t t l e m e n t payment a g a i n s t w h i c h t h e c a r r i e r h a s a s s e r t e d a right of reimbursement. The common-fund exception as recognized i n Alabama i s d e r i v e d from n o t i o n s o f e q u i t y and, i n matters i n v o l v i n g i n s u r a n c e s u b r o g a t i o n , proceeds from t h e proposition share, t h a t when an i n s u r a n c e to the extent recovery carrier i t s insured of i t s subrogation achieves insured's In against attorney Government 859 So. 2d 1115, 1119 the case g i v i n g r i s e Company damaged, vehicle operated issued by ("State State was i n a December 2008 she was o c c u p y i n g by Amy Kirk Emps. of the I n s . Co. v. ( A l a . C i v . App. 2 0 0 2 ) . to this Farm Farm"), that of the burden of i n c l u d i n g a pro r a t a share fee." to i n any a tortfeasor," appeal, ("the i n s u r e d " ) , who was i n s u r e d u n d e r an policy " i s entitled interest, "should bear a p r o p o r t i o n a t e share achieving that recovery Capulli, carrier Mutual injured, Tracy automobile-insurance Automobile collision was s t r u c k b y a s e c o n d 2 Insurance and h e r p r o p e r t y automobile ("the d r i v e r " ) . Mitchell The when was the automobile insured then 2100184 r e t a i n e d c o u n s e l t o r e p r e s e n t h e r , who, a f t e r h a v i n g a g r e e d t o a contingent f e e o f o n e - t h i r d o f any r e c o v e r y (plus expenses), scene of records, interviewed the c o l l i s i o n , and reviewed the insured, own i n s u r e r , w i t h the medical-payments, the insured's records those with the insured. respect i n i t s policy, behalf the insured, of coverage limit) payments. i n medical f o rhaving two l e t t e r s States Mutual State Farm insured's including payments coverage c e r t a i n sums on $5,000 (the p e r t i n e n t a n d $7,992.90 caused t h e c o l l i s i o n , to the driver's l i a b i l i t y I n s u r a n c e Company asserted policy i n other Cotton rights from made u n d e r than States respect Cotton a f o r medical total Farm's t o payments payments, b u t S t a t e s n o t i f i e d S t a t e Farm t h a t " [ t ] h e b a l a n c e 3 Farm under t h e States acceded t o State sought w i t h other insurer, arising Cotton demand as t o t h e $7,992.50 coverages and S t a t e ("Cotton S t a t e s " ) , i n w h i c h subrogation a n d demanded payment o f $12,992.50. Cotton pursuant t o rental-car Farm p a i d Farm, S t a t e Farm f u r t h e r a s c e r t a i n e d t h a t t h e d r i v e r was responsible sent State and medical claim to State to the c o l l i s i o n ; collision, provisions investigated the gathered The i n s u r e d a l s o made an i n s u r a n c e her by t h e i n s u r e d of the 2100184 s u b r o g a t i o n f o r m e d i c a l payments coverages pending remains o u t s t a n d i n g the s e t t l e m [ e ] n t of the B o d i l y I n j u r y c l a i m w i t h [the insured] and h e r a t t o r n e y . " i n s u r e d ' s a t t o r n e y by l e t t e r State Farm then notified that i t "intend[ed] the to pursue a s u b r o g a t i o n c l a i m , w i t h o u t t h e n e e d f o r you t o r e p r e s e n t S t a t e Farm, f o r t h e " $5,000 requested medical the attorney jeopardize not t o [ i t s ] subrogation "retain[ed] an attorney payment; "take rights" State any Farm further a c t i o n which and a d v i s e d t h a t i f i t to represent [its] interests," i t would advise the insured's counsel of t h a t retention. The i n s u r e d ' s a t t o r n e y , i n S e p t e m b e r 2009, p r e p a r e d sent a demand-for-settlement letter to Cotton States insured's a t t o r n e y ' s demand-for-settlement of assured Cotton insured would potential subrogation a l l such The l e t t e r acknowledged claims and S t a t e s t h a t i f a s e t t l e m e n t was satisfy and seeking a payment o f t h e l i m i t s o f t h e d r i v e r ' s i n s u r a n c e p o l i c y . awareness may demands. liens and reached, the The insured's a t t o r n e y a l s o s e n t a c o p y o f t h a t demand l e t t e r t o S t a t e Farm and notified State Farm of the insured's c l a i m under the u n d e r i n s u r e d - m o t o r i s t Farm policy. 4 intent t o make a coverage of the State 2100184 In October civil fictitiously from the insured initiated against action 2009, the d r i v e r , State named d e f e n d a n t s , the c o l l i s i o n against stating her Farm, tort multicount and claims t h e d r i v e r and t h e various stemming fictitiously named d e f e n d a n t s , a s s e r t i n g claims f o r underinsured-motorists ("UIM") b e n e f i t s against against State Farm, State alleging Farm, the and, i n a tort existence of f r a u d u l e n t , b a d - f a i t h r e f u s a l t o p a y an i n s u r a n c e conversion o f f u n d s stemming f r o m S t a t e the p r o p o s i t i o n t h a t i t s subrogation Farm's count both c l a i m and a rejection doctrine. to dismiss the claims against i t ; as t o t h e t o r t c o u n t , Farm common-fund both that the of i n t e r e s t was s u b j e c t t o a r e d u c t i o n u n d e r t h e common-fund averred a S t a t e Farm moved State doctrine i n a p p l i c a b l e and t h a t t h e i n d i v i d u a l t h e o r i e s p l e a d e d was (i.e., c o n v e r s i o n , b a d - f a i t h r e f u s a l , and f r a u d ) d i d n o t s t a t e v a l i d claims. The t r i a l court denied The i n s u r e d and C o t t o n reached S t a t e s , on b e h a l f a t e n t a t i v e agreement w i t h settlement driver that motion a f t e r a hearing. of a l l a c t u a l State Farm the insured and p o t e n t i a l c l a i m s i n e x c h a n g e f o r a payment notified of the d r i v e r , o f $35,000. of the proposed 5 settlement, regarding against The a the insured and State 2100184 Farm, through i t s counsel, gave t h e i n s u r e d i t s c o n s e n t enter i n t o the settlement, but i t requested f u l l of i t s $5,000 Thereafter, pay R. payment the d r i v e r f o r the insured's filed dismissed governing as a p a r t y ; i n t e r p l e a d e r , and the t r i a l court t o Rule to granted a motion t h a t , as a m a t t e r to 22, A l a . thereafter be that motion, for a partial defendant. June 2010, t h e i n s u r e d f i l e d summary j u d g m e n t , c o n t e n d i n g expenses. an u n o p p o s e d m o t i o n s e e k i n g l e a v i n g S t a t e Farm as t h e o n l y named In reimbursement medical t h e d i s p u t e d $5,000 i n t o c o u r t p u r s u a n t C i v . P., to 1 of law, State Farm's r i g h t t o r e c o v e r i t s $5,000 m e d i c a l - e x p e n s e payment was s u b j e c t t o a p r o r a t a r e d u c t i o n f o r a t t o r n e y f e e s b a s e d upon the common-fund doctrine. State Farm filed a response i n o p p o s i t i o n to the insured's motion, a cross-motion partial asserted insured's summary against State UIM-benefits a c t i o n pursuant the t r i a l judgment i n i t s favor Farm, claims and a against on the seeking tort motion to State Farm t o R u l e 2 1 , A l a . R. C i v . P. a count sever the from the A f t e r a hearing, c o u r t d e n i e d t h e i n s u r e d ' s m o t i o n and g r a n t e d State A l t h o u g h t h e d r i v e r was l i s t e d as an a p p e l l e e i n t h e i n s u r e d ' s n o t i c e o f a p p e a l , we h a v e r e s t y l e d t h e a p p e a l t o r e f l e c t the sole remaining r e a l p a r t i e s i n i n t e r e s t . 1 6 2100184 Farm's cross-motion on t h e b a s i s t h a t t h e common-fund that court, its doctrine of that court's d i d not apply; conclusion i n the view of S t a t e Farm t o o k s u f f i c i e n t a f f i r m a t i v e a c t i o n on own b e h a l f to avoid t h e a p p l i c a t i o n o f t h e d o c t r i n e by v i r t u e of i t s statement t o counsel for the insured Farm w o u l d p r o t e c t i t s own i n t e r e s t s . that The t r i a l c o u r t f u r t h e r d i r e c t e d t h e e n t r y o f a f i n a l judgment p u r s u a n t t o R u l e Ala. State 54(b), R. C i v . P.; i t d i d n o t r u l e on t h e m o t i o n t o s e v e r . In their appellate briefs, the parties have 2 largely r e i t e r a t e d t h e i r o p p o s i n g p o s i t i o n s r e g a r d i n g t h e common-fund d o c t r i n e t h a t they advanced i n t h e t r i a l p o s i t s t h a t t h e common-fund that i t mandates t h a t State court. The i n s u r e d d o c t r i n e a p p l i e s i n t h i s case and Farm's r i g h t t o recovery of i t s Although the t r i a l court's judgment r e f e r s t o i t s j u d g m e n t a s b e i n g i n f a v o r o f S t a t e Farm o n l y a s t o " t h e i s s u e o f t h e common f u n d d o c t r i n e " ( e m p h a s i s a d d e d ) , a n d a l t h o u g h R u l e 54(b) c e r t i f i c a t i o n s may n o t p r o p e r l y be made a s t o o n l y p a r t o f a c l a i m , see g e n e r a l l y C e r t a i n U n d e r w r i t e r s at L l o y d ' s , London v . S o u t h e r n N a t u r a l Gas Co., 939 So. 2d 2 1 , 27-29 ( A l a . 2 0 0 6 ) , t h e p r a c t i c a l e f f e c t o f t h e t r i a l c o u r t ' s r u l i n g on t h e p a r t i e s ' summary-judgment m o t i o n s , c o u p l e d w i t h i t s d e c i s i o n n o t t o r u l e on t h e c o n t r a c t c l a i m s asserted a g a i n s t S t a t e Farm b y t h e i n s u r e d , was t o p r e c l u d e t h e i n s u r e d f r o m r e c o v e r i n g on any c l a i m s s t a t e d i n t h e t o r t c o u n t i n h e r complaint. We t h u s c o n c l u d e t h a t t h e j u d g m e n t f r o m w h i c h t h e i n s u r e d h a s t i m e l y a p p e a l e d i s f i n a l p u r s u a n t t o A l a . Code 1975, ยง 12-21-2. 2 7 2100184 $5,000 payment be s u b j e c t t o a p r o r a t a s h a r e o f t h e a t t o r n e y fees incurred trial court's i n obtaining i t ; i n the insured's j u d g m e n t must be r e v e r s e d view, the because the t r i a l c o u r t d i d n o t p r o p e r l y a p p l y t h e common-fund d o c t r i n e . Farm defends insured's arguing active the t r i a l premise that that judgment by t h e common-fund (a) no "common participation common-fund court's fund" i n the settlement rejecting the doctrine arose; State applies, (b) S t a t e process Farm's renders the d o c t r i n e i n a p p l i c a b l e ; a n d (c) t h e p r o v i s i o n s o f t h e S t a t e Farm p o l i c y a b r o g a t e a n y a p p l i c a t i o n o f t h e commonfund d o c t r i n e i n t h e context As we h e l d requirements context i n Capulli, f o r applying of the p a r t i e s ' supra, there t h e common-fund dispute. a r e b u t two doctrine core i n the o f an i n s u r e r ' s r i g h t o f r e p a y m e n t s t e m m i n g f r o m i t s subrogation t o t h e r i g h t s o f i t s i n s u r e d by v i r t u e o f p a y i n g a c l a i m under t h e a p p l i c a b l e p o l i c y o f insurance: must be a ' f u n d ' (2) t h e a t t o r n e y ' s "(1) there from which t o compensate t h e a t t o r n e y ; and s e r v i c e s must d i r e c t l y b e n e f i t t h e f u n d . " 859 So. 2d a t 1122. We d i s a g r e e with S t a t e Farm t h a t , as a m a t t e r o f l a w , no " f u n d " came i n t o b e i n g i n t h i s c a s e i n l i g h t of t h e undisputed facts that (a) t h e i n s u r e d r e t a i n e d 8 counsel 2100184 to r e p r e s e n t her i n t e r e s t s i n o b t a i n i n g compensation from the d r i v e r f o r t h e i n s u r e d ' s i n j u r i e s and l o s s e s stemming f r o m t h e automobile collision diligently i n v e s t i g a t e d the merits against the d r i v e r , liability-insurance civil (c) sent (b) c o u n s e l a demand carrier counsel f o r the insured from Cotton S t a t e s court t o be subjected parties to this appeal). i n noting that Cotton of f o r the insured the letter (Cotton a c t i o n t o r e c o v e r damages settlement into at issue; insured's case to the d r i v e r ' s S t a t e s ) , and b r o u g h t a on t h e i n s u r e d ' s b e h a l f ; and u l t i m a t e l y secured a $35,000 ( o f w h i c h $5,000 was l a t e r p a i d t o the competing Although claims of the S t a t e Farm may be c o r r e c t S t a t e s h a d i n d i c a t e d t o S t a t e Farm i t s a c c e p t a n c e o f t h e p r o p o s i t i o n t h a t t h e d r i v e r was a t f a u l t i n the collision collision, on there January 9, 2009, i s no i n d i c a t i o n the insured h i r e d counsel had a g r e e d t o pay a n y t h i n g a few days after i n the record that on J a n u a r y 6, 2009, C o t t o n the before States t o S t a t e Farm o r t o t h e i n s u r e d ; further, the record a f f i r m a t i v e l y i n d i c a t e s that Cotton States declined to demand against Cotton meet State States Farm's direct to the extent that subrogation State Farm sought r e p a y m e n t f o r i t s $5,000 m e d i c a l - b e n e f i t s payment on b e h a l f o f 9 2100184 the insured. We advanced by S t a t e thus cannot Farm t h a t agree with the insured's the proposition attorney d i d not e x e r t e f f o r t s t h a t gave r i s e t o a f u n d t h a t w o u l d u l t i m a t e l y have t h e c a p a c i t y t o b e n e f i t t h e i n t e r e s t s o f b o t h t h e i n s u r e d and S t a t e Farm ( w h i c h a s s e r t e d a c l a i m t o t h e f u n d i m m e d i a t e l y upon receiving notice that a between t h e i n s u r e d and C o t t o n settlement had been States). H a v i n g d e t e r m i n e d t h a t a common f u n d d i d i n d e e d next consider whether State reached Farm i s n o n e t h e l e s s a r i s e , we entitled to a v o i d t h e e f f e c t o f t h e common-fund d o c t r i n e b a s e d upon e i t h e r o f t h e two r a t i o n a l e s i t h a s a d v a n c e d . First, we n o t e that S t a t e Farm c o r r e c t l y c i t e s Ex p a r t e S t a t e Farm F i r e & C a s u a l t y Co. , 764 So. 2d 543 ( A l a . 2000), f o r the proposition l e g a l p r i n c i p l e s i n h e r i n g i n the law of subrogation, the general precept t h a t an i n s u r e r t h a t h a s p a i d i t s i n s u r e d h a s no s u b r o g a t i o n harmed t h e i n s u r e d (i.e., until has been f u l l y that such as claims of r i g h t s a g a i n s t a t o r t f e a s o r who the insured has been "made w h o l e " c o m p e n s a t e d ) , may p r o p e r l y be m o d i f i e d o r a b r o g a t e d b y c o n t r a r y p r o v i s i o n s a g r e e d upon b y p a r t i e s t o a written contract. A l t h o u g h we a g r e e w i t h t h a t p r o p o s i t i o n , and n o t e t h a t S t a t e Farm's p o l i c y c o n t a i n s 10 language expressly 2100184 p r o v i d i n g t h a t S t a t e Farm's s u b r o g a t i o n rights as t o payments made on b e h a l f o f any p e r s o n a p p l y " r e g a r d l e s s o f whether o r not t h e person ... t o o r f o r whom [ i t makes] payment i s f u l l y c o m p e n s a t e d f o r damages s u s t a i n e d , " we do n o t a g r e e w i t h State Farm's u l t i m a t e c o n t e n t i o n t h a t i t s p o l i c y s i m i l a r l y a b r o g a t e s the common-fund The p o l i c y context doctrine. language relied upon b y S t a t e Farm i n t h i s provides: " I f we a r e o b l i g a t e d u n d e r t h i s p o l i c y t o make payment t o o r f o r a p e r s o n o r o r g a n i z a t i o n who h a s a l e g a l r i g h t t o c o l l e c t from another person o r o r g a n i z a t i o n , t h e n we w i l l be s u b r o g a t e d t o t h a t r i g h t t o t h e e x t e n t o f o u r payment. This applies regardless o f whether or not the person or o r g a n i z a t i o n t o o r f o r whom we make payment i s f u l l y c o m p e n s a t e d f o r damages s u s t a i n e d i n t h e a c c i d e n t . " I f we make payment u n d e r t h i s p o l i c y a n d t h e p e r s o n o r o r g a n i z a t i o n t o o r f o r whom we make payment r e c o v e r s o r has r e c o v e r e d from another p e r s o n o r o r g a n i z a t i o n , then the person or o r g a n i z a t i o n t o or f o r whom we make payment must: "(1) h o l d i n t r u s t any r e c o v e r y ; a n d "(2) r e i m b u r s e payment. f o r us t h e p r o c e e d s o f us t o t h e e x t e n t o f our "This a p p l i e s r e g a r d l e s s o f whether or not the p e r s o n o r o r g a n i z a t i o n t o o r f o r whom we make 11 2100184 payment i s f u l l y c o m p e n s a t e d f o r damages i n the accident." (Emphasis o m i t t e d . ) sustained We n o t e t h a t , u n l i k e t h e e x p r e s s negation o f t h e "make-whole" d o c t r i n e , t h e S t a t e Farm p o l i c y does n o t expressly refer to p o t e n t i a l attorney-fee Although State Farm cites v a r i o u s Alabama c i r c u i t - c o u r t three claims opinions judges tending i n any way. issued by t o support i t s p o s i t i o n t h a t the p o l i c y p r o v i s i o n s quoted h e r e i n negate the common-fund doctrine, precedential authority." O c t o b e r 1, 2010] In f a c t , as t h i s "a circuit Taylor So. 3d court v. S t a t e , , case ... [Ms. has no CR-05-0066, ( A l a . C r i m . App. c o u r t has n o t e d , t h e e q u i t a b l e r i g h t 2010). o f an i n s u r e d t o w i t h h o l d a p r o r a t a a t t o r n e y f e e u n d e r t h e commonfund doctrine " [ i ] n the case o f an insured's recovery of damages i n w h i c h t h e i n s u r e r has an i n t e r e s t as s u b r o g e e a f t e r payment t o t h e i n s u r e d " may a r i s e " a s i d e f r o m c o n t r a c t . " Blue C r o s s & B l u e S h i e l d o f A l a b a m a v. Freeman, 447 So. 2d 757, 759 ( A l a . C i v . App. 1983) ( c i t i n g S t a t e Farm Mut. A u t o . I n s . Co. v. C l i n t o n , 267 Or. 653, 518 P.2d 645 (1974)). No f e w e r t h a n three states' highest courts o f Oregon (Clinton, Or. those 267 a t 662, 518 P.2d a t 6 4 9 ) , M a i n e (York I n s . Group o f M a i n e v. Van H a l l , 704 A.2d 366, 369 (Me. 1 9 9 7 ) ) , 12 and V e r m o n t ( G u i e l 2100184 v. Allstate (2000)), 3 I n s . Co., 170 V t . 464, have h e l d t h a t g o v e r n i n g 469-70, 756 A.2d 781 provisions of statutes or c o n t r a c t s p r o v i d i n g f o r an i n s u r e r ' s r i g h t o f r e i m b u r s e m e n t t o the extent application o f i t s payment do not unambiguously o f t h e common-fund obtained b y an i n s u r e d that benefit of that i n s u r e r . doctrine negate the as t o any i s t o be h e l d recovery i n trust f o r the I n t h e absence of language i n t h e S t a t e Farm p o l i c y d e m o n s t r a t i n g a c l e a r i n t e n t t o n e g a t e t h e application recovery of the common-fund doctrine to an insured's o f damages f r o m a t h i r d p a r t y , we a r e p e r s u a d e d t h a t t h e mere p r e s e n c e o f s u b r o g a t i o n and reimbursement c l a u s e s i n t h e S t a t e Farm p o l i c y do n o t s u p p o r t t h e t r i a l c o u r t ' s summary j u d g m e n t i n f a v o r o f S t a t e Farm. We l a s t c o n s i d e r of S t a t e Farm's a r g u m e n t t h a t , as a m a t t e r l a w , t h e common-fund d o c t r i n e was n e g a t e d b y i t s " a c t i v e participation." "active-participation" As we noted defense in Capulli, to the a p p l i c a b i l i t y the of the common-fund d o c t r i n e r e q u i r e s a s h o w i n g t h a t " t h e p a r t y s o u g h t t o be c h a r g e d w i t h t h e a t t o r n e y fee a c t i v e l y p a r t i c i p a t e d i n I n C a p u l l i , we c i t e d G u i e l w i t h a p p r o v a l as t o s e v e r a l aspects o f i t s d i s c u s s i o n o f t h e common-fund doctrine. C a p u l l i , 859 So. 2d a t 1125, 1126. 3 13 2100184 producing the participated fund," i n or i.e., that i t s efforts the insurer substantially "'actively contributed the c r e a t i o n or p r e s e r v a t i o n of the subrogated fund.'" 2d a t 1126 ( q u o t i n g Johnny P a r k e r , Coming o f Age Rev. 313, i n t h e Law 335 (1998)) The Common Fund of Insurance Subrogation, Doctrine: 31 I n d . i s the $35,000 r e c o v e r y o b t a i n e d by t h e i n s u r e d , t h r o u g h h e r pursuant to the settlement aid the record, L. gross counsel, reached w i t h the d r i v e r ' s i n s u r e r , As t o t h a t r e c o v e r y , i n s u r e d or i t s a t t o r n e y ; State So. (emphasis added). H e r e , as we h a v e n o t e d , t h e p e r t i n e n t " f u n d " Cotton States. 859 to Farm d i d n o t i n v e s t i g a t i n g the insured's S t a t e Farm d i d n o t h i n g f o r a l l t h a t appears i n assist the insured's counsel p o t e n t i a l tort claim against to the in the d r i v e r o r i n p r o s e c u t i n g t h e a c t i o n a g a i n s t t h e d r i v e r once i t was filed. Although State insured that i t intended and 4 notified t o p u r s u e i t s own i n d i c a t e d that counsel's be n e c e s s a r y Farm counsel for subrogation claim s e r v i c e s on i t s b e h a l f w o u l d b e f o r e s u i t had b e e n f i l e d and C o t t o n the States not had As t h e Supreme C o u r t o f I d a h o n o t e d i n Wensman v. F a r m e r s Ins. Co. o f I d a h o , 134 I d a h o 148, 152, 997 P.2d 609, 613 (2000) ( q u o t i n g M a h l e r v. S z u c s , 135 Wash. 2d 398, 427, 957 P.2d 632, 648 ( 1 9 9 8 ) ) , S t a t e Farm's r e j e c t i o n o f t h e i n s u r e d ' s a t t o r n e y as i t s own r e p r e s e n t a t i v e i s n o t p e r t i n e n t i n t h i s 4 14 2100184 agreed to settle State Farm the insured's was content to claims against assert a the driver, claim for full reimbursement a g a i n s t t h e recovery o b t a i n e d a f t e r t h e recovery became a r e a l i t y insistence that rather than a contingency. i t s separate State extrajudicial Farm's dealings with C o t t o n S t a t e s t o o b t a i n reimbursement, and i t s d e c l a r a t i o n s o f its intent t o seek full reimbursement, amount to "active p a r t i c i p a t i o n " s i m p l y does n o t c o m p o r t w i t h t h e n e c e s s i t y t h a t the doctrine helped yield create appears occurred from t o a showing or preserve the record that a subrogated i n this case an i n s u r e r h a s fund; Farm, a s i n A l s t o n v. S t a t e Farm M u t u a l A u t o m o b i l e Insurance of note than that rather, i t State Co. , 660 So. 2d 1314, more only 1316 ( A l a . C i v . App. 1 9 9 5 ) , d i d "rel[y] on [an i n s u r e d ' s ] nothing attorney g e n e r a t e t h e b e n e f i t s t h a t i t r e c e i v e d f r o m t h e common Based upon the foregoing conclude that the t r i a l court facts and common-fund d o c t r i n e d i d n o t a p p l y fund." authorities, erred i n determining to we that the t o t h e $5,000 p a i d into c o u r t by t h e d r i v e r p u r s u a n t t o t h e s e t t l e m e n t reached between r e g a r d : "'Consent t o c o u n s e l by t h e b e n e f i t e d p a r t y i s n o t r e q u i r e d i n common f u n d c a s e s . I f c o n s e n t were r e q u i r e d , t h e r e w o u l d be no common f u n d r u l e a t a l l . ' " 15 2100184 the d r i v e r and t h e i n s u r e d . We r e v e r s e t h a t j u d g m e n t , a n d we remand t h e c a s e f o r f u r t h e r p r o c e e d i n g s . REVERSED AND REMANDED. Thompson, P . J . , a n d Thomas a n d Moore, J J . , c o n c u r . Bryan, J . , concurs i n the r e s u l t , without 16 writing.