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Didyoung v. Allstate Insurance Co.

United States District Court, Ninth Circuit

June 13, 2013

Joseph Didyoung and Donna Didyoung, husband and wife, Plaintiffs,
v.
Allstate Insurance Company, a stock company and a foreign corporation and subsidiary of Allstate Property and Casualty Insurance Company, Defendant.

ORDER

G. MURRAY SNOW, District Judge.

Pending before the Court is Defendant Allstate Insurance Company's Motion for Summary Judgment. (Doc. 33.) For the reasons discussed below, Allstate's Motion is granted.[1]

BACKGROUND

Plaintiffs Joseph and Donna Didyoung owned a mobile home in Pinetop, Navajo County, Arizona. (Doc. 1-1 at ¶ 2.) The mobile home was insured through a policy written by Allstate. ( Id. at ¶ 5.) The policy provided that covered property losses would be settled on an "actual cash value" basis. (Doc. 34-1 at JM00512.)

The Didyoungs' mobile home was built with a twenty-pound roof load capacity. (Doc. 35 at 3.) In January 2010, record snowfalls caused the roof of the mobile home to collapse, allegedly "compromising the integrity of the entire structure." (Doc. 1-1 at ¶ 6.) After these record snowfalls, Navajo County changed its building code to require a forty-pound roof load capacity on mobile homes. (Doc. 35 at 3.)

The Didyoungs timely reported the claim to Allstate. (Doc. 1-1 at ¶ 7.) Allstate hired an independent adjuster who estimated that the actual cash value of the Didyoungs' property at the time of the loss was $28, 858.61. (Doc. 34 at ¶ 2.) The Didyoungs hired their own public adjuster who prepared an actual cash value estimate of $118, 721.92. (Doc. 35 at 3.) This estimate was based on "what it would actually cost to replace the property less depreciation" and included "all necessary work required to put the home in a pre-loss condition subject to Navajo County's building requirements." ( Id. ) The Didyoungs thus submitted a proof of loss for $140, 239.47 as "the Actual Cash Value for the cost of repair... to put [their] property in a pre-loss condition."[2] (Doc. 36 at ¶¶ 8-9.) Allstate denied coverage for the cost of building code upgrades. (Doc. 34 at ¶ 2.) The Didyoungs allegedly refused to accept payment from Allstate in the lower amount estimated by Allstate's adjuster. (Doc. 1-1 at ¶ 9.) This led Allstate to re-issue the checks to the Didyoungs' mortgage company. ( Id. )

The Didyoungs brought suit against Allstate in Pinal County Superior Court on January 11, 2012. (Doc. 1-1 at 1.) They asserted claims for breach of contract and insurance bad faith, alleging that Allstate intentionally low-balled the initial estimate of actual cash value. ( Id. at ¶ 8.) They further alleged that Allstate's actions forced the Didyoungs to fall behind on their mortgage payments, causing the mobile home to go into foreclosure. ( Id. at ¶ 10.) The Didyoungs sought compensatory damages, damages for emotional distress, and punitive damages. ( Id. at 4.) On February 17, 2012, Allstate removed the action to this Court. (Doc. 1.)

DISCUSSION

I. Legal Standard

Summary judgment is appropriate if the evidence, viewed in the light most favorable to the nonmoving party, shows "that there is no genuine issue as to any material fact and that the movant is entitled to judgment as a matter of law." Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(c). Only disputes over facts that might affect the outcome of the suit will preclude the entry of summary judgment, and the disputed evidence must be "such that a reasonable jury could return a verdict for the nonmoving party." Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 248 (1986). "[A] party seeking summary judgment always bears the initial responsibility of informing the district court of the basis for its motion, and identifying those portions of [the record] which it believes demonstrate the absence of a genuine issue of material fact." Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 323 (1986).

Substantive law determines which facts are material. Anderson, 477 U.S. at 248. Because "[c]redibility determinations, the weighing of the evidence, and the drawing of legitimate inferences from the facts are jury functions, not those of a judge, ... [t]he evidence of the nonmovant is to be believed, and all justifiable inferences are to be drawn in his favor" at the summary judgment stage. Id. at 255 (citing Adickes v. S.H. Kress & Co., 398 U.S. 144, 158-59 (1970)); Harris v. Itzhaki, 183 F.3d 1043, 1051 (9th Cir. 1999) ("Issues of credibility, including questions of intent, should be left to the jury.") (citations omitted).

Furthermore, the party opposing summary judgment "may not rest upon the mere allegations or denials of [the party's] pleadings, but... must set forth specific facts showing that there is a genuine issue for trial." Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(e); see also LRCiv. 1.10(l)(1) ("Any party opposing a motion for summary judgment must... set[] forth the specific facts, which the opposing party asserts, including those facts which establish a genuine issue of material fact precluding summary judgment in favor of the moving party."). If the nonmoving party's opposition fails to specifically cite to materials either in the court's record or not in the record, the court is not required to either search the entire record for evidence establishing a genuine issue of material fact or obtain the missing materials. See Carmen v. S.F. Unified Sch. Dist., 237 F.3d 1026, 1028-29 (9th Cir. 2001); Forsberg v. P. N.W. Bell Tel. Co., 840 F.2d 1409, 1417-18 (9th Cir. 1988).

II. Analysis

A. Breach of ...


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