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Peoples v. Allstate Insurance Co.

United States District Court, C.D. California

November 20, 2017

RICHARD G. PEOPLES
v.
ALLSTATE INSURANCE COMPANY ET AL.

          Present: The Honorable CHRISTINA A. SNYDER.

          CIVIL MINUTES - GENERAL

         Proceedings: PLAINTIFF'S MOTION TO STRIKE DEFENDANTS' AFFIRMATIVE DEFENSES OF UNILATERAL MISTAKE OF FACT AND FRAUD (dkt. 17, filed October 10, 2017)

         I. INTRODUCTION

         On August 2, 2017, plaintiff Richard Peoples filed the complaint herein against defendants Allstate Insurance Company and Allstate Northbrook Indemnity Company (collectively, “Allstate”). Dkt. 1 (“Compl.”). Plaintiff asserts a claim for breach of contract against Allstate. Id. The gravamen of plaintiff's complaint is that Allstate refused to honor a settlement agreement in which it voluntarily agreed to pay its policy limits of $250, 000 for plaintiff's wrongful death claim following the death of his wife, Jeanette Peoples. On August 29, 2017, Allstate filed an answer to the Complaint. Dkt. 10 (“Answer”).

         On October 10, 2017, plaintiff filed a motion to strike Allstate's affirmative defenses of (1) unilateral mistake of fact and (2) fraud. Dkt. 17 (“Motion”). On October 30, 2017, Allstate filed its opposition. Dkt. 20 (“Opp'n”). On November 6, 2017, plaintiff filed his reply, dkt. 25 (“Reply”), and submitted objections to Allstate's opposition, dkt. 26.

         Having carefully considered the parties' arguments, the Court finds and concludes as follows.

         II. BACKGROUND

         Plaintiff alleges the following facts.

         Plaintiff is a resident of Santa Clarita, California. Compl. ¶ 2. Allstate Insurance Company is an Illinois corporation with its principal place of business in Northbrook, Illinois. Id. ¶ 3. Allstate Northbrook Indemnity Company is an Illinois corporation with its principal place of business in Northbrook, Illinois. Id. ¶ 4. Defendants are registered with the California Secretary of State. Id. Plaintiff asserts that subject matter jurisdiction is appropriate pursuant to 28. U.S.C. section 1332 because there is complete diversity between the parties and the amount in controversy exceeds $75, 000. Id. ¶ 1.

         Plaintiff alleges that Allstate issued an automobile liability insurance policy to Janet Vartanians, bearing policy number 934059141, with policy limits of $250, 000 per person (the “Policy”). Id. ¶ 6. The Policy provided automobile liability insurance coverage to Vartanians' 2014 Honda Accord automobile (the “Honda”). Id. The Policy was in full force and effect on March 7, 2016. Id. ¶ 7.

         On March 7, 2016, Eric Heydari was operating the Honda with the permission and consent of Vartanians. Id. ¶ 8. Plaintiff alleges that Heydari negligently struck and killed Jeanette Ann Peoples, who was a pedestrian. Id. Jeanette Peoples was plaintiff's wife. Id.

         Following the death of Jeanette Peoples, plaintiff alleges that he made a claim against Allstate. Id. ¶ 9. Allstate opened Claim Number 0404627440. Id. On May 25, 2016, Allstate's claims adjuster, Andy Weber, emailed plaintiff:

         Dear Mr. Peoples:

This email shall serve as written confirmation that we are extending a $250, 000 policy limits settlement offer in order to compensate you for the fatal injuries suffered by Jeanette Peoples. I will be sending out a release form for you to sign and return. We will need to protect any outstanding Medicare lien. I will also have a structured ...

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