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St. Paul Mercury Ins. Co. v. Tessera, Inc.

United States District Court, N.D. California, San Jose Division

November 30, 2012

ST. PAUL MERCURY INSURANCE COMPANY, a Minnesota corporation, Plaintiff,
v.
TESSERA, INC., a Delaware corporation, Defendant.

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Bruce D. Celebrezze, Matthew Clark Lovell, Dean J. McElroy, Sedgwick LLP, San Francisco, CA, for Plaintiffs.

Michael Roy Williams, Connor, Fletcher Williams LLP, Irvine, CA, for Defendant.

ORDER GRANTING ST. PAUL MERCURY INSURANCE COMPANY'S PARTIAL MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT AND DENYING TESSERA, INC.'S PARTIAL MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT

RONALD M. WHYTE, District Judge.

On April 12, 2012 plaintiff and cross-defendant, St. Paul Mercury Insurance (" St. Paul" ), filed the instant action seeking a declaratory judgment that it has no duty to defend Tessera Inc. (" Tessera" ), its insured, in an action brought against Tessera bye Power Technology, Inc. (" PTI" ) in the United States District Court for the Northern District of California, Powertech Technology Inc. v. Tessera, Inc., Case No. 11-06121 (" underlying action" ). Dkt. No. 1. St. Paul also seeks reimbursement of the amounts it has paid in defending Tessera pursuant to a reservation of rights. Id. On October 26, 2012, both parties brought motions for partial summary judgment requesting that the court resolve whether St. Paul was obligated to defend Tessera in the underlying action. Dkt. Nos. 29, 30. Hearing on both motions occurred on November 30, 2012. Having considered the papers submitted by the parties and the arguments of counsel, and for the reasons set forth below, the court grants St. Paul's partial motion to dismiss and denies Tessera's partial motion to dismiss.

I. BACKGROUND

A. The Contract Between St. Paul and Tessera

Beginning in May of 2007 and spanning until August of 2009, St. Paul issued three insurance policies to Tessera in which it agreed to indemnify Tessera and defend it against certain claims. Compl. at ΒΆΒΆ 5-8. The terms of the each insurance policy are identical insofar as relevant to this action. Specifically, the insurance policy (" the Policy" ) states:

Personal Injury Liability: We'll pay amounts any protected person is legally required to pay as damages for covered personal injury that:
• results from your business activities; and
• is caused by a personal injury offense committed while this agreement is in effect.
...
Personal injury offense means any of the following offenses:
...
• Malicious prosecution.
...
• Libel, or slander, in or with covered material.
• Making known to any person or organization covered material that disparages the business, premises products, services, work, or completed work of others.
...
Covered material means any material in any form of expression, including material made known or with any electronic means of ...

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