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FIDELITY & DEPOSIT CO. OF MARYLAND v. ZANDSTRA

February 7, 1990

FIDELITY AND DEPOSIT COMPANY OF MARYLAND, Plaintiff,
v.
JOHN ZANDSTRA, et al., Defendants. FEDERAL DEPOSIT INSURANCE CORPORATION, Defendant-Intervenor. AND RELATED COUNTERCLAIM



The opinion of the court was delivered by: SCHWARZER

 WILLIAM W. SCHWARZER, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

 This is an action for declaratory relief, brought by a Maryland insurance company, Fidelity and Deposit Company of Maryland ("Fidelity"), which seeks a declaration that it has no duty to defend or indemnify the defendants, John Zandstra, Robert Sederstrom, Jr. and Richard Webster (collectively, "the Zandstra defendants"), citizens of California and Washington, against two actions originally brought against them by Homestate Savings and Loan Association ("Homestate") and now being maintained by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation ("FDIC"). FDIC has been granted leave to intervene as a defendant. Jurisdiction is based upon diversity and upon 12 U.S.C. § 1819(b)(2) as amended by Pub. L. 101-73 § 209(b)(2), 103 Stat. 183 at 216-17.

 Fidelity issued a directors' and officers' liability policy (the "D & O policy") to Homestate. Zandstra, Sederstrom, and Webster are former officers and/or directors of Homestate. They are named in two actions originally brought by Homestate. They have tendered the defense of these actions to Fidelity; Fidelity has refused to defend, and brought this action.

 Fidelity now moves for summary judgment on the basis of an endorsement to the D & O policy which excludes from coverage losses connected with claims made against the directors or officers by Homestate. The Zandstra defendants and FDIC oppose the motion, contending that FDIC represents interests other than Homestate's in the underlying actions, and that the exclusion is ambiguous as applied to actions maintained by FDIC.

 Factual Background

 In September 1982 Fidelity issued to Homestate a directors' and officers' liability insurance policy which was renewed and continued in force until March 1986. The policy contained an exclusion (the "insured v. insured" exclusion) which provided:

 
It is understood and agreed that the Company [Fidelity] shall not be liable to make any payment for Loss in connection with any claim made against the Directors and Officers by any other Director or Officer of the Association [Homestate] or by the Association, except for a shareholders' derivative action by a shareholder of the Association, when such shareholder is not a Director or Officer of the Association.

 Buckley dec. ex. A. *fn1"

 In June 1986, Homestate filed two actions against Zandstra in state courts in Hawaii and California (the "underlying actions"). Sederstrom and Webster were later added as defendants in the California action. The parties do not appear to dispute that Fidelity was timely notified of the actions, and that, except for any applicable exclusions, the D & O policy would provide coverage.

 On August 26, 1988 the Federal Home Loan Bank Board appointed the Federal Savings and Loan Insurance Corporation ("FSLIC") as receiver of Homestate, pursuant to 12 U.S.C. §§ 1464(d)(6)(A), 1729(c)(1)(B). FSLIC/Receiver took possession of Homestate and all of its assets and liabilities and succeeded to the rights, titles, powers and privileges of Homestate, its members, directors, and officers. 12 U.S.C. § 1729(c)(1)(B)(i)(II); 12 C.F.R. §§ 547.7, 549.3. On the same day, pursuant to 12 U.S.C. §§ 1729(a), 1729(f)(2)(A), FSLIC/Receiver entered into a "purchase and assumption" agreement by which it sold most of Homestate's assets to Old Stone Bank of California ("Old Stone"). (Skilling June 19, 1989 dec. [in action 88-3757-WWS] ex. F.) In this agreement, Old Stone agreed to assume most of the liabilities of Homestate. FSLIC/Corporate provided more than $ 5 million in assistance to Old Stone to help it meet these obligations. (Stanton June 19, 1989 dec. para. 4.) This agreement provided that FSLIC/Receiver retained any claims against directors and officers of Homestate. *fn2" Also on the same day, FSLIC/Receiver transferred substantially all of its liabilities and assets, including the claims at issue here, to FSLIC in its corporate capacity ("FSLIC/Corporate"). (Skilling dec. ex. G.)

 The two underlying state actions were removed to federal court in Hawaii and the Northern District of California by FSLIC/Corporate in September, 1988. On August 9, 1989 FSLIC was abolished by the Financial Institutions Reform, Recovery, and Enforcement Act of 1989 ("FIRREA"), Pub. L. No. 101-73, 103 Stat. 183, which transferred its assets, including the claims at issue here, to the FSLIC Resolution Fund, which is managed by the FDIC. FIRREA §§ 215, 401(a)(1), 103 Stat. 252, 354. By operation of statute, FDIC became the plaintiff in both underlying actions. FIRREA § 401(f)(2), 103 Stat. 356. In November 1989, FDIC as Manager of the FSLIC Resolution Fund filed a Third Amended Complaint in the underlying California action, FDIC v. Zandstra, et al., 88-3757-WWS, and intervened in this action.

 Discussion

 Under California law, the words used in an insurance policy are to be interpreted according to their plain meaning. See, e.g., Reserve Ins. Co. v. Pisciotta, 30 Cal. 3d 800, 807, 180 Cal. Rptr. 628, 631, 640 P.2d 764 (1982). Any limitations on the character and extent of the risk the insurance company intends to assume need to be set forth in plain and understandable language, e.g., VTN Consolidated, Inc. v. Northbrook Ins. Co., 92 Cal. App. 3d 888, 892, 155 Cal. Rptr. 172, 173 (1st Dist. 1979), and any ambiguities or uncertainties should be resolved in favor of coverage. E.g., Holz Rubber Co. v. American Star Ins. Co., 14 Cal. 3d 45, 55, 120 Cal. Rptr. 415, 420, 533 P.2d 1055 (1975). Any exclusionary clauses must be phrased in clear and unmistakable language, and must be construed strictly against the insurer, in order that the purpose of the insurance policy not be defeated. E.g., Reserve Insurance Co. v. Pisciotta, 30 Cal. 3d at 808, 180 Cal. Rptr. at 632; Crane v. State Farm Fire and Cas. Co., 5 Cal. 3d 112, 115-16, 95 Cal. Rptr. 513, 514, 485 P.2d 1129 (1971). As with other contracts, the intent of the parties to an insurance ...


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