United States District Court, D. Arizona
A. Teilborg Senior United States District Judge.
before the Court is Defendant's Motion for Summary
Judgment (Doc. 30). The Court now rules on the
28, 2018, Defendant Stillwater Insurance Company
(“Defendant”) filed the pending Motion for
Summary Judgment (Doc. 30). Plaintiffs Charles and Elizabeth
Nyakondo (individually and collectively,
“Plaintiffs”) filed a Response on July 30, 2018
(Doc. 31). Defendant did not file a reply memorandum. The
Court liberally construes Plaintiffs' Complaint (Doc.
1-1) to assert causes of action for breach of contract and
bad faith. (Doc. 1-1 at 4-7).
following facts are either undisputed or recounted in the
light most favorable to the non-moving party. At all relevant
times, Plaintiffs' home was insured by Defendant. (Doc.
31 at 2). On April 24, 2017, Plaintiffs' home
suffered water damage from a toilet overflow. (Id.
at 1). Plaintiffs contacted Defendant the same day
(Id.). The following day, Defendant sent a property
claims examiner and an inspector to the home.
(Compare Doc. 30 at 1-2 with Doc. 31 at 2).
Defendant also secured temporary lodging for Plaintiffs
through a temporary housing placement company, starting April
25, 2017. (Doc. 31 at 3).
April 26, 2017, Pelican Power, LLC (“Pelican”)
inventoried Plaintiffs' personal property items that were
damaged in the incident and took some of the damaged items
into storage. (Id.). Pelican valued the totality of
Plaintiffs' damaged personal items at $17, 931.47.
(Id. at 6 (citing Id. at 19-21)).
Plaintiffs sent a copy of this list of damaged items and
Pelican's valuation to Defendant's property claims
examiner on June 9, 2017. (Id. at 7 (citing
Id. at 38)). Following Defendant's inspection
process, Defendant reimbursed Plaintiffs $6, 369.44 for the
damaged personal property on or around July 27, 2018.
(Id. at 5-6 (citing Id. at 30); see
also Doc. 30-11 at 2). Plaintiffs disputed the
sufficiency of this compensation and requested that Pelican
not dispose of any items stored by Pelican. (Doc. 31 at 6-7).
Nevertheless, Pelican disposed of Plaintiffs' items
without Plaintiffs' consent. (Id. at 6).
30, 2017, the temporary housing placement company notified
Plaintiffs that they would have to vacate their temporary
lodging on June 28, 2017. (Id. at 7 (citing
Id. at 40)). The remodeling company working at
Plaintiffs' home, however, did not certify that
remodeling work was complete until July 12, 2017.
(Id. (citing Id. at 42)).
SUMMARY JUDGMENT STANDARD
judgment is appropriate when “there is no genuine
dispute as to any material fact and the movant is entitled to
judgment as a matter of law.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(a).
“A party asserting that a fact cannot be or is
genuinely disputed must support that assertion by . . .
citing to particular parts of materials in the record,
including depositions, documents, electronically stored
information, affidavits, or declarations, stipulations . . .
admissions, interrogatory answers, or other materials,
” or by “showing that materials cited do not
establish the absence or presence of a genuine dispute, or
that an adverse party cannot produce admissible evidence to
support the fact.” Id. 56(c)(1)(A), (B). Thus,
summary judgment is mandated “against a party who fails
to make a showing sufficient to establish the existence of an
element essential to that party's case, and on which that
party will bear the burden of proof at trial.”
Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 322 (1986).
the movant bears the burden of demonstrating to the Court the
basis for the motion and the elements of the cause of action
upon which the non-movant will be unable to establish a
genuine issue of material fact. Id. at 323. The
burden then shifts to the non-movant to establish the
existence of material fact. Id. A material fact is
any factual issue that may affect the outcome of the case
under the governing substantive law. Anderson v. Liberty
Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 248 (1986). The non-movant
“must do more than simply show that there is some
metaphysical doubt as to the material facts” by
“com[ing] forward with ‘specific facts showing
that there is a genuine issue for trial.' ”
Matsushita Elec. Indus. Co. v. Zenith Radio Corp.,
475 U.S. 574, 586-87 (1986) (quoting Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(e)). A
dispute about a fact is “genuine” if the evidence
is such that a reasonable jury could return a verdict for the
non-moving party. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. at
248 (1986). The non-movant's bare assertions, standing
alone, are insufficient to create a material issue of fact
and defeat a motion for summary judgment. Id. at
247-48. However, in the summary judgment context, the Court
construes all disputed facts in the light most favorable to
the non-moving party. Ellison v. Robertson, 357 F.3d
1072, 1075 (9th Cir. 2004).
summary judgment stage, the Court's role is to determine
whether there is a genuine issue available for trial. There
is no issue for trial unless there is sufficient evidence in
favor of the non-moving party for a jury to return a verdict
for the non-moving party. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477
U.S. at 249-50. “If the evidence is merely colorable,
or is not significantly probative, summary judgment may be
granted.” Id. (citations omitted).
moves for summary judgment on Plaintiffs' claims, which
the Court believes sound in bad faith and breach of contract.
(Doc. 30). Due to the ambiguity of the Complaint (Doc. ...