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Morris v. Allstate Insurance Co.

United States District Court, C.D. California, Western Division

April 28, 2014

WENDY MORRIS and RUSSELL A. MORRIS, SR., Plaintiffs,
v.
ALLSTATE INSURANCE COMPANY, Defendants

For Wendy Morris, Russell A Morris, Sr, Plaintiffs: Robert P Karwin, LEAD ATTORNEY, The Law Offices of Robert P Karwin, Sun City, CA.

For Allstate Insurance, Defendant: Peter H Klee, LEAD ATTORNEY, Sheppard Mullin Richter and Hampton LLP, San Diego, CA; Theona Zhordania, LEAD ATTORNEY, Sheppard Mullin Richter and Hampton LLP, Los Angeles, CA.

OPINION

Page 1096

AUDREY B. COLLINS, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.

ORDER GRANTING MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT

Pending before the Court is Defendant Allstate Insurance Company's (" Defendant" ) Motion for Summary Judgment (" Motion," docket no. 25) filed on February 27, 2014. Plaintiffs Wendy Morris and Russell A. Morris, Sr. (" Plaintiffs" ) filed an Opposition and Defendant filed a Reply. Oral argument was heard on April 28, 2014. For the following reasons, the Court GRANTS the Motion.

Page 1097

I. BACKGROUND

Plaintiffs are suing their insurer, Defendant, for breach of contract and breach of the implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing on the ground that Defendant improperly denied Plaintiffs' insurance claim. Defendant moves for summary judgment.

II. UNDISPUTED FACTS

The following facts are material and undisputed [1]:

1. Plaintiffs insured their property under (1) an Allstate homeowners' policy (the " Allstate policy" ) and (2) a flood insurance policy issued by the federal government. DSUF 1.

2. As relevant to this action, Coverage C -- Personal Property Protection of the Allstate policy covers damage to personal property caused by specific named perils. DSUF 2.

3. The named peril in issue in this case is " windstorm." Def.'s Exh. 1 p. 51.

4. The Allstate policy includes a Flood Exclusion such that the policy does not cover loss to personal property caused by " Flood, including, but not limited to surface water, waves, tidal water or overflow of any body of water, or spray from any of these, whether or not driven by wind." DSUF 3.

5. The Allstate policy includes a Weather Conditions exclusion such that the policy does not cover loss to personal property caused by " Weather Conditions that contribute in any way with a cause of loss excluded in this section to produce a loss." DSUF 7.

6. The Allstate policy does not cover loss to personal property when: (a) there are two or more causes of loss to the covered property; and (b) the predominant cause(s) of loss is (are) excluded under Losses We Do Not Cover. DSUF 8.

7. The Allstate policy provides: " We do not cover any loss or occurrence in which any insured person has concealed or misrepresented any material fact or circumstance." DSUF 9.

8. The Allstate policy provides, " We do not cover loss to personal property . . . caused by . . . [t]he failure of any insured person to take all reasonable steps to save and preserve property when the property is endangered by a cause of loss we cover." Def.'s Exh. 1, p. 28-29.

9. On July 6, 2011, a storm hit Plaintiffs' neighborhood. Plaintiffs described the storm as having lasted approximately two hours. Plaintiffs claimed that the storm flooded their property and the street with 5 1/2 inches of rain, and produced heavy winds. PSUF 2-5; Def.'s Exh. 11; Def.'s Exh. 25, 66:3-22, 97:9-98:1.

10. Mrs. Morris stated that the day before and the day of the storm, she, with the help of two neighborhood boys, moved some 500 items of personal property from the house outside to the covered porch/portico of the house. Much of this property consisted of clothing or items to be used in connection with upcoming weddings.

Page 1098

PSUF 6, 7, 8, 16, 18; Def.'s Exh. 12, p. 120; Def.'s ...


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