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Scott Dunton, et al v. Allstate Insurance Co

April 24, 2013

SCOTT DUNTON, ET AL., PLAINTIFFS,
v.
ALLSTATE INSURANCE CO., DEFENDANT.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Allison Claire United States Magistrate Judge

ORDER

On April 24, 2013, the court held a hearing on defendant's February 26, 2013 motion for protective order. Stewart Altemus appeared for plaintiffs. Michael Barnes appeared for defendant. On review of the motion, the documents filed in support and opposition, upon hearing the arguments of counsel, and good cause appearing therefor, THE COURT FINDS AS FOLLOWS:

RELEVANT FACTUAL AND PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND

A. Facts Underlying Litigation

On the morning of October 21, 2008 at approximately 7:30 a.m., plaintiff Scott Dunton was driving to work after having stopped at a deli to pick up a sandwich for lunch when his vehicle was struck by another vehicle that was operated by an underinsured motorist.

Following the accident, plaintiff drove to his employer's shop to pick up some tools and then drove to Anderson High School ("the job site"), where Dunton was scheduled to begin work at 9 a.m.

Plaintiffs settled with the underinsured motorist for the $15,000 limit of his liability policy, and then demanded the remaining UIM limit ($85,000) from an Allstate insurance policy issued to Dunton Construction Co., Inc. ("Dunton Construction").

The parties agreed to enter arbitration on the value of plaintiff's claim. Almost one year later, however, defendant declined to enter arbitration until plaintiffs submitted a Worker's Compensation ("W.C.") claim on the theory that was plaintiff Dunton was driving "on the job" because he was driving to pick up tools to take to the job site.

Plaintiffs' position is that Dunton does not need to file a W.C. claim because he was not "on the job" at the time of the collision and therefore W.C. is unavailable to him.

B. Relevant Procedural Background

Plaintiffs filed suit on December 27, 2011 in the Shasta County Superior Court bringing claims against defendant for tortious breach of an insurance contract and breach of its covenant of good faith and fair dealing. Plaintiff seeks $85,000 in damages.

On February 3, 2012, this action was removed from Shasta County Superior Court based on the diversity of the parties and the $85,000 damages claim.

On April 3, 2012, the parties filed a Joint Status Report, where they maintained that they "plan to conduct discovery regarding all allegations in the complaint," Joint Status Report at 3:10; that they "do not propose conducting discovery in phases," id. at 3:21-22; and that they "do not propose discovery be limited to or focused on any particular issues. The parties agree there is no need to narrow the scope for permissible discovery under the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure," id. at 3:24-26.

Following receipt of the parties' Joint Status Report, the Honorable Morrison C. England, Jr. issued a Pretrial Scheduling Order setting ...


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