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Wingco v. Government Employees Ins. Co.

Supreme Court of Nevada

March 27, 2014

DAHLIA WINGCO, INDIVIDUALLY; AND MARGARET WERNING, INDIVIDUALLY, AND ON BEHALF OF OTHERS SIMILARLY SITUATED, Appellants,
v.
GOVERNMENT EMPLOYEES INSURANCE COMPANY; GEICO GENERAL INSURANCE COMPANY; GEICO INDEMNITY COMPANY; AND GEICO CASUALTY COMPANY, Respondents

Appeal from a district court order dismissing an insurance action. Eighth Judicial District Court, Clark County; Elissa F. Cadish, Judge.

Affirmed.

Cottle Law Firm and Robert Cottle, Las Vegas; Jesse Sbaih & Associates, Ltd., and Jesse M. Sbaih and Ines Olevic-Saleh, Henderson, for Appellants.

Snell & Wilmer, LLP, and Richard C. Gordon, Brian R. Reeve, and Kelly H. Dove, Las Vegas, for Respondents.

Pickering, J. We concur: Gibbons, C.J., Hardesty, J., Parraguirre, J., Douglas, J., Cherry, J., Saitta, J.

OPINION

BEFORE THE COURT EN BANC.

PICKERING, J.:

In this appeal, we consider NRS 687B.145(3), which provides that a motor vehicle insurer must offer its insured the option of purchasing medical payment coverage. Appellants argue that the offer is not valid unless the insurer obtains from its insured a written rejection of medical payment coverage; otherwise, the insurer must pay its insured $1,000, which is the minimum amount that the insurer must offer. We disagree and affirm the district court's order of dismissal.

I.

Appellants Dahlia Wingco and Margaret Werning (together, Wingco) were injured in automobile accidents. Both were insured by respondent Geico,[1] and when Geico denied coverage of their medical expenses, both requested that Geico either present them with signed written rejections of medical payment coverage or tender $1,000 in medical benefits; Geico refused their requests. They thereafter instituted this class action on behalf of themselves and others similarly situated,

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seeking compensatory and punitive damages.

The core allegation in Wingco's complaint is that Geico violated NRS 687B.145(3) because, while the insurer may have offered medical payment coverage to its insureds, it did not obtain written rejections from them of the offered coverage. Based on this allegation, the complaint asserts claims for breach of contract, tortious breach of contract, breach of the implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing, unfair claims practices, violation of Nevada's Deceptive Trade Practices Act, reformation, unjust enrichment, and declaratory relief.

Geico moved to dismiss, and Wingco filed a cross-motion for summary judgment. The parties joined issue on whether NRS 687B.145(3) requires a written rejection of medical payment coverage. The district court granted Geico's motion to dismiss and ...


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