United States District Court, D. Arizona
G. Campbell United States District Judge
Provident Life and Accident Insurance Company has moved for
reconsideration of the Court's order granting partial
summary judgment to Plaintiff Thomas Wood. Doc. 80. A motion
for reconsideration will be 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); see Carroll v. Nakatani, 342 F.3d 934,
945 (9th Cir. 2003).
Court's order concluded that an accidental bodily injury
(the “lifting maneuver”) caused Plaintiff's
disability for purposes of the parties' insurance
contract (the “Policy”). Doc. 77 at 10-16.
Defendant makes four arguments.
first contends that the Court's finding of causation
“assume[d] that Defendant's position was based
solely upon the absence of new lesions.” Doc. 80 at 4.
This mischaracterizes the Court's decision. The Court
evaluated that particular argument when considering whether
the lifting maneuver constituted a bodily injury. Doc. 77 at
11. The absence of new lesions played no role in the
Court's finding on causation. Id. at 14-16.
next contends that the Court overlooked the opinions of Drs.
Beavers, Prince, and Obray that Plaintiff's degenerative
disc disease caused his disability, and the lifting maneuver
merely exacerbated that condition. Doc. 80 at
The Court clearly considered and rejected this argument:
The Policy contemplates an award of benefits where injury and
sickness combine to cause a disability:
The fact that a disability is caused by more than one Injury
or Sickness or from both will not matter. We will pay
benefits for the disability which provides the greater
Doc. 47-2 at 12. Thus, the Policy does not limit benefits to
disabilities caused solely and independently by injuries.
Defendant contends that Plaintiff's degenerative disc
disease caused his disability, and that the lifting maneuver
only exacerbated the preexisting condition. See Doc.
46 at 14-15. The record may support a finding that the
lifting maneuver combined with Plaintiff's degenerative
disc disease to cause his disability, but the Policy's
language makes this point inconsequential. Even if the
disease contributed to Plaintiff's disability, the issue
the Court must resolve is whether the lifting maneuver was a
cause of Plaintiff's disability.
Doc. 77 at 14-15. After reviewing relevant Arizona case law,
the Court concluded:
Even if the Court accepts Defendant's characterization of
the lifting maneuver as an exacerbation of Plaintiff's
degenerative disc disease, the maneuver was a contributing
cause of Plaintiff's disability. . . . The Court
concludes that the lifting maneuver was a cause of
Plaintiff's disability when, with his degenerative disc
disease, it resulted in a disabling condition.
Id. at 16.
neither challenges this interpretation of the Policy nor
cites evidence that the lifting maneuver was not an
exacerbation. Indeed, Defendant repeatedly characterized the
lifting maneuver as an exacerbation. E.g., Doc. 46
at 14-15. As the Court explained, “the undisputed facts
demonstrate that Plaintiff's degenerative disc disease
was not disabling before the lifting maneuver, ” and
“the record is devoid of any indication that Plaintiff
would have become disabled in August 2015 had it not been for
the lifting maneuver.” Doc. 77 at 16. Defendant's
motion does not show that these conclusions were based on
also suggests that the Court overlooked Dr. Sternbergh's
opinion (Doc. 80 at 6), a “summary of [which] was
included in the parties' summary judgment briefing”
(id. at 5 n.5). But Defendant cites
Plaintiff's summary judgment briefing, and the
cited record makes no mention of Dr. Sternbergh. See
Doc. 52-3 at 3. The Court cannot see how this amounts to
overlooking Defendant's evidence. In any event, Defendant
relies on Dr. Sternbergh's opinion for the proposition
that the degenerative disc disease caused ...