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Brewington v. State Farm Mutual Automobile Ins. Co.

United States District Court, D. Nevada

March 31, 2015

CATHERINE BREWINGTON, Plaintiff,
v.
STATE FARM MUTUAL AUTOMOBILE INSURANCE COMPANY, Defendant

Decided March 30, 2015.

Page 1106

For Catherine Brewington, Plaintiff: Leah Ronhaar, Thomas E Drendel, LEAD ATTORNEYS, Bradley, Drendel & Jeanney, Reno, NV.

For State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Company, Defendant: Riley A. Clayton, LEAD ATTORNEY, Hall Jaffe & Clayton, LLP, Las Vegas, NV; Scott A Glogovac, LEAD ATTORNEY, Glogovac & Pintar, Reno, NV; James Ernest Harper, Harper Law Group, Las Vegas, NV.

Page 1107

ORDER

LARRY R. HICKS, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.

Before the court is defendant State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Company's (" State Farm" ) second motion for partial summary judgment. Doc. #38.[1] Plaintiff Catherine Brewington (" Brewington" ) filed an opposition to the motion (Doc. #44), to which State Farm replied (Doc. #48).

I. Facts and Background

This is a breach of contract action between Brewington and State Farm for uninsured motorist (" UM" ) coverage arising from a motorcycle accident that resulted in the death of Brewington's husband, Purdy Brewington (" Purdy" ).

On August 29, 2012, Purdy and Brewington were riding separate motorcycles along State Highway 49 in Sierra County, California. At the same time, non-party Jerry Godbey (" Godbey" ) was riding his motorcycle along State Highway 49 in the opposite direction. Godbey, coming around a corner, crossed the center lane and collided with Purdy ejecting both riders from their motorcycles. Brewington, who was riding a little behind Purdy, witnessed the collision and called an ambulance. On the way to the hospital, Purdy died with Brewington at his side. As a result of the accident, Brewington became emotionally distraught and was prescribed various medications and treatment.

At the time of the accident, both Purdy and Brewington were insured under an automobile and motorcycle policy issued by State Farm. After the accident, Brewington submitted a wrongful death claim to State Farm on behalf of Purdy. State Farm extended coverage for Purdy's death in the maximum " each person" amount of $250,000. Brewington also submitted a separate UM claim seeking an additional $250,000 in coverage for her own emotional distress from witnessing the accident. State Farm denied Brewington's separate emotional distress claim.

Subsequently, Brewington filed the underlying complaint against State Farm alleging three causes of action: (1) breach of contract; (2) breach of the implied covenants of good faith and fair dealing; and (3) violation of the Nevada Trade Practices Act, NRS 686A.310. Doc. #1. In response, the parties filed cross-motions for summary judgment on Brewington's breach of contract claim. Doc. ##14, 17. State Farm then filed the present motion for partial summary judgment on Brewington's second and third causes of action. Doc. #38. On September 16, 2014, the court denied State Farm's motion for summary judgment (Doc. #14) and granted Brewington's cross-motion for summary judgment on the breach of contract claim (Doc. #17). Doc. #43.

II. Legal Standard

Summary judgment is appropriate only when the pleadings, depositions, answers to interrogatories, and admissions on file, together with the affidavits, if any, show " that there is no genuine issue as to any material fact and that the [moving party] is entitled to judgment as a matter of law." Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(c). In assessing a motion for summary judgment, the evidence, together with all inferences that can reasonably be drawn therefrom, must be read in the light most ...


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