Encompass Insurance Company of America v. Macadangdang et al, No. 2:2009cv02070 - Document 29 (D. Nev. 2010)

Court Description: ORDER Denying 16 Motion to Dismiss. Signed by Judge Robert C. Jones on 6/9/10. (Copies have been distributed pursuant to the NEF - ASB)
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! .n< /w rr.7 gyu rs-yys l....--.f..rL:6 j --- Sft 'i 'f'' '(:;..' 4( ,$ y.yr jvL. yj., . 44y. y gy;yyytqyy;.yy; j , ; f f / y jj!.. .r Lqyy . j j s- - - - ...- . î , . f . 1 , 2 1 , J tlk ...,jj.. .j . ,' J. ).'sz..g.?... (l;q Cjjuj t y 1 ' . ' . I- g. ;I et :5 . . . .- .. .. . ()r.) $:$, t ' .r--- .- .. . . k;f7, .vj. )kk,- j .L.... ., . 4 j p . y ' ' . 5 6 UN ITED STA TES D ISTR ICT CO UR T 7 DISTRICT O F NEVAD A 8 ENCOM PASS INSURANCE COM PANY OF AMERICA, 9 Plaintqh 10 vs. 11 W ENDY M ACADANGDANG asspccial 12 adminïstratoronbehalfofESTATE OF DANNY M ACADANGDANG,SIERRA 13 M ACADANGDANG, l4 Defendants. ) ) ) ) ) ) ) ) ) ) ) ) ) ) 2:09-cv-02070-RCJ-RJJ ORDER 15 16 17 INTRO D UCTIO N This case arises outof a m otor vehicle accident and the ensuing dispute over irlsurance Encompass Insurance Company of America v. Macadangdang et al Doc. 29 18 coverage. Dcfendants W endy M acadandang,as specialadministrator ofthe Estate of Danny 19 M acadandang,w ho is deceased,W endy M acadangdang,in her individualcapacity,and W endy 20 M acadangdang,asGuardian ad Litem forSien'aM acadandang,am inor,bring thisM otion to D ism iss 21 (#16)pursuanttoFederalRulesofCivilProcedure 12(b)(1)and (6).PlaintifrEncompasslnsurance 22 CompanyofAmericatiledatimelyResponse(#l8)inoppositiontoPlaintiffs'motion.Plaintiffkfiled 23 atimelyreply(//20). 24 TheCourthasconsidered allofthepleadirlgsandargumentsby theparties. 25 IT IS HEREBY ORDERED THAT Defendants'M otion to Dismiss(//16)isDENIED. Dockets.Justia.com 1 2 BA CK G RO UN D On October 17,2004,D anny M acadandang was involved in a m otorvehicle accidentwhile 3 apasscngerinavehicledrivenbyJordanDonLcbie,sonofCindyandDonaldLebie.(Complaint!!; 4 10,19,#1). PlaintifrEncompasslnsuranceCompany ofAmericatdtplaintifr'lissued an insurance 5 policytoDefendantsCindyandDonaldLebfe.(Id.!(15).DannyMacadangdangsufferedirljuries 6 thatultimatcly resulted in hisdeath.(/#.!22). 7 ThedeathandinjurïestoDannyMacadangdangpromptedDefendantWendyMacadandang 8 in herindividual,as specialadministratoroftheEstatc ofDanny M acadandang,and asGuardian ad 9 Lïtem forminorSierraM acadandang (collectively êlM acadangdangs''orSûDefendants''),to bring a 10 lawsuitagainst Cindy Lebie and Jordan Lebic in D istrictCourt,Clark County,Nevada,Case no, 11 A509128,captioncdM acadangdang,etal.,v.Lebie,etal.,on August26,2005('tthe Underlying 12 Action'').(/#.! ll).lntheUnderlyingAction,Defendantsseekdamagesfornegligence,wrongful 13 death,and punitivedamages.(f#.jr26,//1;//18Ex.A). TheUnderlying Actïonwassetfortrïalon 14 M arch 15,2010,buthassincebeen m oved to m id-April. 15 Plaintifr'spolicy issued to Cindy and Donald Lebie providescoverage forbodily injul. y 16 liability.(Complaint! l5,//1).Thepolicylimitsconsistofaçiperperson''limitintheamountof 17 $100,000,andaçtpcroccurrence''limitof$300,000.(f#.!'15).Thepolicywasinefrectonthedate 18 oftheaccident,October17,2004.(f(f). Thepolicyalso providesthattheperperson limitisthe 19 TT O TA L LIM IT OF LIABILITY FO R DAM AGES BECAU SE OF BOD ILY INJURY 20 SU STAINED BY AN Y O NE PERSON IN AN Y ON E M O TOR V EHICLE ACCIDEN T, 21 IN CLU DING D AM AGES SU STAIN ED BY AN YON EELSE AS A RESULT OFTH AT BOD ILY 22 INJURY.'' (f#.). Thepolicy furtheriteratcsthatCTUNITIVE AND EXEM PLARY DAM AGES 23 ARE NO T CO VERED AND TH EREFORE A RE N OT IN CLUD ED IN A ND AR E N OT IN 24 AD DITION TO TH E LIM IT OF LIABILITY SHOW N IN TH E CO VERAGE SUM M A RY FOR 25 M OTOR VEHICLE LIABILITY.''(f#.). Page 2 of 7 1 Itisalleged in PlaintiT scomplaintthatthe M acadangdangsm adedem andsundcrthepolicy 2 fortheperoccurrencelimit,$300,000.00. (1d.! 29). Plaintiffhasalreadyofrered theperperson 3 allowanceof$100,000.00 totheM acadangdangs.(1d.4.Basedonthisdisputeincoverage,Plaintifl- 4 seeksdeclaratolyrelieftiom thisCourtpursuantto28U.S.C.j2201,Fed.R.Civ.P.57,andN.R.S. 5 Chapter30. 6 DISCUSSIO N 7 A. Standard forM otion to Dism iss 8 FederalRuleofCivilProcedure8(a)(2)requiresonlydiashortandplainstatementoftheclaim 9 show ing thatthe pleaderisentitled to relief''in orderto ttgive the defendantfairnotice ofwhatthe 10 ...claim is and thc groundsupon which itrests.'' Conley v.Gibson,355 U.S.41,47 (1957). l1 FederalRuleofCivilProcedure12(b)(6)mandatesthatacourtdismissacauseofaction thatfailsto 12 stateaclaim upon whichreliefcan be granted. A motion to dismissunderRule 12(b)(6)teststhe 13 complaint'ssuëciency.SeeNorthStarlnt'l.v.Arizona Corp.Comm ' n.,720F.2d578,581(9thCir. 14 1983). W hen considering a motion to dismiss underRule 12(b)(6)for failure to state a claim, 15 dism issalisappropriate only wben the com plaintdoesnotgivc the defendantfairnoticeofalegally 16 cognizableclaim and the grounds on which itrcsts. SeeBellAtl.Corp.v.Twombl y,550 U.S.544, 17 554,l27S.Ct.1955,1964(2007).Howevcr,factsmustbesumcienttoedgeacomplaintfrom the 18 conceivable to the plausible in orderto state a claim . /#. ln considering w hether the com plaintis 19 sufficicntto state a claim ,the courtwilltake allm aterialallegationsastrue and construethem in the 20 lightmostfavorableto theplaintiff SeeNL 1ndu. %.,lnc.v.Kaplan,792 F.2d 896,898 (9th Cir. 21 1986).Thecourt,however,isnotrequired to acceptastrueallegationsthataremerelyconclusory, 22 unw arranteddeductionsoffact,orunreasonableinferences.See Sprewellv.Golden State Warriors, 23 266F.3d979,988(9thCir.2001). 24 The Suprem e Court recently claritied that, iflorder to avoid a m otion to dism iss, the 25 com plaintm ustcontain içfactualcontentthatallows the courtto draw thereasonable infercncethat Page 3 of 7 1 the dcfendantisliable forthem isconductalleged,''Ashcro.jtv.Iqbal,----U. S.----,129S.Ct.1937, 2 1949(2009).TheCourtinAshcro.ftfurtherstatedi'Ewjhereacomplaintplcadsfactsthatareçimerely 3 consistentwith''a defendant's liability,ittstopsshortofthe linebetw een possibility and plausibility 4 of entitlem ent to relief'''f#. Therefore,m erely making an allegation is not enough to survive a 5 m otion to dism iss;factsthata particulardefendantm ay plausibly be liable forthe alleged conduct 6 mustbe pled. 7 tr enerally,a districtcourtmay notconsiderany materialbeyond the pleadingsin ruling on 8 aRule12(b)(6)motion....However,materialwhichisproperlysubmittedaspartofthecomplaint 9 may beconsidered on a m otion to dism iss.''H alRoach Studios,Inc.v.Richardli -einerd:Co.s896 l0 F.2d 1542,1555n.19 (9thCir.1990)(citationsomitted).Similarly,t'documentswhosecontentsare 1l alleged in a complaint and whosc authenticity no party questions,butw hich are not physically 12 attached to thepleading,maybeconsideredinrulingonaRule12(b)(6)motionto dismiss''without 13 convertingthemotiontodismissintoamotionforsummaryjudgment.Branchv.Tunnell,14F.3d 14 449,454 (9th Cir.1994). M oreover,underFed.R.Evid.201,a courtmaytakejudicialnoticeof l5 dimattersofpublicrecord.''Mackv.SouthBayBeerDistrib.,798F.2d1279,1282(9thCir.1986). 16 Othelavise,ifthedistrictcourtconsidersm aterialsoutside ofthepleadings,the motion to dism issis 17 convertedintoamotionforsununaryjudgment.SeeArpinv.SantaClara Valley Transp.Agency, 18 261F.3d912,925(9thCir.2001). l9 B. A nalysis 20 D efendantsbring thisinstantm otion alleging thatthere isno case and controversypresented 2l inthisactionandthereforethisCourthasnojurisdiction.Defendantsfailtoaddressthedirectlyon 22 pointcase law presented notonly in PlaintiT scomplaint,which D efendantsareseeking to dism iss, 23 but also in Plaintifr's opposition. W hile Defendants' position as to the case and controversy 24 requirem entisrational,itisnotsupported by this Circuit'slaw . In essence,Defendantsurge the 25 /// Page 4 of 7 l Courtto m ake a decision contral' y to the 1aw which binds thisCourt,w ithouteven an attemptto 2 distinguish thiscase from the casescited by Plaintif in the complaint. 3 ttl)ytheexpresstennsoftheConstitution,theexerciseofthejudicialpowerislirnited to 4 icases'and tcantroversies.'''Muskraty' .US.,219 U.S.346,356,31S.Ct.250 (1911). The 5 D eclaratory Judgm entActspecifcally provides a right for claim ants seeking declaratoly reliefin 6 certain situations. The statute provides: 7 (a) Inacaseofactualcontroversywithin itsjurisdiction,...anycourtofthe U nited States,upon the tiling of an appropriate pleading,may declare the 8 rights and other legal relations of any intcrested party seeking such declaration,whetherornotfurtherrelicfisorcould be sought.... 9 28U.S.C.j2201.AsnotedbytheNinthCircuitCourtofAppeals,'sgtlheDeclaratol' yJudgmentAct 10 embraces170th constitutionalandprudentialconcerns.A law suitseeking declaratoryreliefm ustftrst 11 presentan actualcase orcontroversyw ithin them eaning ofArticle111,section2 oftheU nited States l2 Constitution.Itmustalsofulfllstatutoryjurisdictionalprerequisites.''GovernmentEmployeesIns. 13 Co.v.Dizol,133F.3d1220,1222-23(gthcir.1998)(internalcitationsomitted).TheUnitedStates 14 SupremeCourthasheld thata caseorcontroversy 'tmustbedefmite and concrete,touching thelegal 15 relations ofparties having adverse legalinterest. lt mustbe a realand substantialcontroversy l6 17 adm itting ofspecificreliefthrough adecreeofconclusivecharacter,asdistinguished from anopinion advisingwhatthelaw wouldbeuponahypotheticalstateoffacts.''AetnaLl' Jc 'Ins.Co.ofliarfor4 18 Conn.v.Haworth,300U.S.227,240--41,57S.Ct.461(1937). TheNinthCircuithaselucidated 19 onthisprinciple,heldingthatwhereplaintiffsseekdcclaratoryrelief therelevantinquiryiswhether 20 thereisbè sufhcientimmediacyandrealit ytowarranttheissuanceofadeclaratoryjudgement.''Ross 21 v.Alaska,189F.3d 1107,1114(9th Cir.1999). 22 Asnoted by Plaintifl-in the com plaintand theresponscin opposition to Defendants'm otion, 23 thc N inth Circuithasconsistently held thata 'çdispute betw een an insurerand itsinsureds over the 24 dutiesimposed by an insurance contractsatistiesArticle 1I1'scase and controvcrsy requirem ent.'' 25 Pagc 5 of 7 1 Gov'tEmployees Ins.Co., 133 F.3d at 1222 n.2. For instance,in American States Ins. Co.v. 2 Kearnss15F.3d142,144..45(9thCir.l994),theNinthCircuitdeterminedthataninsurerhadaripe 3 case orcontroversy w here itsoughta declaration regarding itsobligations in a pending state coul' t 4 action. This isalso consistentw ith thc United StatcsSuprem e Court's application ofthe case and 5 controversyrequirementinMalylandCasualt y v.PacficCoald:011Co.,312U.S.270,61S.Ct. 6 510(1941),wheretheCourtheldthataninsurer'sdeclaratoryactionregardingitsdutytodefendand 7 indem nify w assuE ciently ripe,even w hen the underlying liability action in state courthad notyet 8 proceededtojudgment. 9 ln thepresentcase,Plaintifrseeksdeclaratoryreliefregarding itsobligationsunderthepolicy l0 ithasorhadwiththeLebies.TheMacadangdangsarejoinedasparties,considcringthattheyarethe 11 ones m aking the dem ands under the policy and arc arguably the realparties in interest. lt is l2 undisputed thatthe M acadangdangsclaim they are entitled to the peroccurrence am ountunderthe 13 policyof$300,000.00.Plaintiffcontendsthattheyareonlyliableforthe$100,000.00,perperson 14 lirnit,and haveofrered topay thatpolicylimftto theM acadangdangs.Thisisasuë ciently im m ediate l5 andrealcontroversyunderthelaw ofthisCircuitandtheSupremeCourttowan-antjurisdiction.The 16 partiesin thissuithave adverse legalinterestsand have a realdispute over the am ountow cd under 17 the insurance contract. 18 Defendantscompletely ignore the N inth Circuitcase1aw raised by Plaintiff Thisisin spite 19 ofthecitationsto thecasessupportingjurisdiction thatwereincluded in Plaintit' rsComplaint! 20 Defendantsdo noteven make a good faith attemptto distingufsh the presentcasefrom those cited 21 by PlaintiE ln the face ofthe clcar citation to contrary law ,D efendants chose to instead argue 22 passed the law ,in cssence,attempting to gctthisCourttclm akean irlcolrcctdeterm ination. Uulike 23 D cfendants'argumentthatthisismercly a potentialliability,itisuncontested thatPlaintifrhasan 24 /// 25 /// Page 6 of 7 1 obligation to Defendants.Thisisnotapotentialliability,butarealliability overwhich there isa live 2 disputeasto coverage. Ashasalready been discussed in the case law cited above,itisunnecessary 3 fortheretobeajudgmentintheunderlyingactiontomakethîscontroversyactionable. 4 C ON CLUSIO N 5 IT IS HEREBY ORDERED THAT Defendants'M otionto Dismiss(//16)isDENIED. 6 DATED :This9* day ofJune,2010. 7 8 9 . - R UN ITE 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 Page 7 of 7 ERT C JON ES A TES D ISTR IC T JU D G E