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ICASIANO v. ALLSTATE INS. CO.

June 23, 2000

JUDITH ICASIANO, PLAINTIFF,
V.
ALLSTATE INSURANCE CO. AND TANA GOLDEN, DEFENDANTS.



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

I. BACKGROUND

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 Golden);

(3) Negligent Misrepresentation and Conspiracy (against Allstate ...


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