The opinion of the court was delivered by: Spencer Williams, District Judge.
ORDER GRANTING DEFENDANTS'
MOTIONS TO DISMISS
Defendants Allstate Insurance Company ("Allstate") and Tana Golden
("Golden") move to dismiss the Complaint. The matter has been fully
briefed, and hearings were held on May 24, 2000 and June 19, 2000.*fn1
Having considered the contents of the Complaint and the arguments set
forth by the parties, the Court now rules as follows.*fn2
This action arises from an April 6, 1999 freeway accident involving
five automobiles, including one driven by Plaintiff Judith Icasiano. The
crash caused bodily injury to several victims and the death of Ruben
Blass Vasquez. Plaintiff was criminally charged with vehicular
manslaughter for the death of Mr. Vasquez.
At the time of the incident, Plaintiff held an insurance policy with
Allstate, number 0674901690504 ("the Policy"). The Policy provides a
limit of $25,000 per person for bodily injury, $25,000 for property
damage per occurrence, and a limit of $50,000 per occurrence. The Policy
also provides as follows:
We will defend an insured person sued for damages
which are covered by this policy even if the suit is
groundless or false. We will choose the counsel. We
may settle any claim or suit if we believe it is
proper. We will not defend an insured person sued for
damages which are not covered by the policy.
Policy at page 3 (Decl. of Glen Davis, Ex. A). The complaint alleges the
existence of several third-party "claims" that exceed the amount of the
policy. The Complaint does not allege that any third-party civil lawsuits
have been filed against Plaintiff. Allstate is allegedly willing to
defend Plaintiff in any civil suit, and to tender its indemnity limits.
Plaintiff alleges that Allstate has refused to provide a prompt and
adequate investigation and defense of the claims. She alleges that
"contrary to plaintiffs reasonable expectations, plaintiff is, and has
been, provided only a token defense and investigation, which is actually
prejudicing plaintiff and is leaving upon plaintiffs shoulders the full
burden of adequate investigation and defense in order to protect herself
from exposure to any excess judgment." Complaint ¶ 11. Plaintiff
complains that Allstate failed promptly to provide counsel, failed
promptly to provide an investigator, restricted the investigator's
activities to reduce costs, failed promptly to provide an accident
reconstruction report, failed to cooperate with the insured, failed to
keep abreast of the investigation, misrepresented to the insured
pertinent facts regarding policy provisions, failed to act reasonably
promptly upon communication of the third-party claim, failed to adopt
reasonable standards for the prompt investigation of claims, did not
attempt to effectuate a fair settlement, and failed to provide a
reasonable explanation for its denial of Plaintiffs request for an
adequate defense. Id. at ¶ 14.
The Complaint alleges four causes of action:
(1) Tortious Breach of the Implied Covenant of Good Faith and Fair
Dealing (against Allstate);
(2) Promissory Fraud and Conspiracy to Defraud (against Allstate and
(3) Negligent Misrepresentation and Conspiracy (against Allstate ...