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Safeco Insurance Company of America v. Geer

United States District Court, D. Arizona

January 31, 2018

Safeco Insurance Company of America, Plaintiff,
v.
Tucker C Geer, et al., Defendants.

          ORDER

          HONORABLE JAMES A. SOTO UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

         Pending before the Court is Plaintiff's Motion for Reconsideration, (Doc. 93). Based on the following reasoning, Plaintiff's motion, (Doc. 93), will be denied.[1]

         Standard of Review

         Ordinarily motions for reconsideration are denied absent “a showing of manifest error or a showing of new facts or legal authority that could not have been brought to [the Court's] attention earlier with reasonable diligence.” LRCiv. 7.2 (g)(1).

A motion to reconsider must provide a valid ground for reconsideration by showing two things. First, it must demonstrate some valid reason why the Court should reconsider its prior decision. Second, it must set forth facts or law of a strongly convincing nature to induce the Court to reverse its prior decision.
Courts have advanced three major grounds justifying reconsideration: (1) an intervening change in the controlling law; (2) the availability of new evidence; and (3) the need to correct clear error or prevent manifest injustice.

Bahrs v. Hughes Aircraft Co., 795 F.Supp. 965, 967 (D. Ariz. 1992); see also Defenders of Wildlife v. Browner, 909 F.Supp. 1342, 1351 (D. Ariz. 1995) (a motion for reconsideration should not be used to ask a court to “rethink what the court had already thought through-rightly or wrongly.”); Refrigeration Sales Co. v. Mitchell-Jackson, Inc., 605 F.Supp. 6, 7 (N.D.Ill. 1983) (arguments that a court was in error on the issues it considered should be directed to the court of appeals).

         Facts[2]

         On January 3, 2013, Defendant Christian Burton struck pedestrian Defendant Richard Paul Venable. (PSOF, at ¶¶ 7-8.) Previously, Plaintiff Safeco Insurance Company of America (“Safeco”) issued insurance to Defendant Tucker C. Geer and his then spouse for their vehicles. (Id. at ¶ 1.) Mr. Geer was listed as the sole “Named Insured.” (See id. at ¶ 17.) Ms. Geer added her son, [3] Defendant Burton's vehicle to the policy. (DSOF, at ¶3.)

         On January 5, 2018, the Court granted, in part, and denied, in part, Plaintiff's Motion for Summary Judgment and denied Defendant Venable's Cross-Motion for Summary Judgment. (Doc. 92.) On January 18, 2018, Plaintiff filed a timely motion for reconsideration, arguing that Ms. Geer's expectation should not be considered by the Court because she was not the “Named Insured.” (Doc. 93, at 2:11-17.) Further Plaintiff argues that Ms. Geer was not the contracting insured because she was not a “Named Insured.” (Id. at 3:5-6.)

         Analysis

         “It is well established that a contracting party's reasonable expectations may affect the enforceability of non-negotiated terms in a standardized agreement.” Averett v. Farmers Ins. Co. of Ariz., 869 P.2d 505, 506 (Ariz. 1994) (analyzing the reasonable expectation of the named insured). Plaintiff cites cases in which Arizona courts disregarded any reasonable expectation that hopeful insureds may assert. (Doc. 93, at 2:21-26.) These cases differ greatly from the present fact pattern.

         First Plaintiff cites to Cullen v. Koty-Leavitt Ins. Agency, 168 P.3d 917 (Ariz.Ct.App. 2007), vacated on other grounds, 189 P.3d 344 (Ariz. 2008). (Doc. 93, at 2:21-26.) Cullen was injured in a vehicle owned by a third party. Cullen, 168 P.3d at 920. He filed a claim with Auto Owners, which covered a different vehicle and listed Sierrita Mining and Ranch Company, who provided the insured vehicle to Cullen's family, as the named insured. Id. Cullen is described as “a stranger to the insurance contract.” Id. at 925. Therefore, the decisive factor was if Sierrita Mining and Ranch Company had a reasonable expectation that Cullen would be covered. Id. at 925-26.

         Second Plaintiff cites to Ogden v. U.S. Fid. & Guar. Co., 933 P.2d 1200 (Ariz.Ct.App. 1996). (Doc. 93, at 2:25-26.) Ogden was in a car accident with a vehicle driven by Lichman, an employee of J.M. Steel Erecting, Inc. Ogden, 933 P.2d at 1202. Lichman purchased the vehicle form J.M., but never transferred the title. Id. J.M. continued to provide insurance for the vehicle. Id. The court stated that ‚ÄúLichman's expectations have little effect upon the ...


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