United States District Court, D. Nevada
before the court is plaintiff Thompson's
(“Thompson”) application for judgment. (ECF No.
9). Garnishee QBE Insurance Corporation (“QBE”)
responded and filed a countermotion for conditions upon any
such judgment. (ECF Nos. 13, 14). Thompson replied and
responded, respectively. (ECF Nos. 16, 17). QBE replied
regarding its countermotion. (ECF No. 19).
instant garnishment action arises out of a state court tort
case that has been pending for several years. (ECF No. 12 at
2-5). Lamplight Village @ Centennial Springs Homeowners'
Association (“Lamplight”) installed defective
swing sets on its playground. Id. at 2. The top bar
of the swing set would consistently break and fall.
Id. Lamplight would repair the swing set, but the
bar would break again. Id. Lamplight received a
replacement from the manufacturer, which also broke.
Id. at 2-3. The manufacturer sent another
replacement. Id. at 3. The new replacement broke,
and the top cross bar struck Thompson in the head.
Id. The swing set “crushed [Thompson's]
skull” and caused bleeding in his brain. Id.
sued the swing set manufacturer, the installer, and Lamplight
in state court in March 2014. Id. Thompson had
previously contacted Lamplight “specifically asking
Lamplight to notify its carrier.” Id. QBE
received notice of the action, assumed control of
Lamplight's defense, and chose counsel. Id. at
3-4. Although the other defendants settled the matter,
Lamplight rejected an offer of judgment that would have
required it to tender $316, 333.34, a settlement offer for
its $2, 000, 000 policy limits, and a “high-low”
settlement. Id. at 4.
won at trial. Id. The jury awarded him $10, 000, 000
in compensatory damages and an additional $10, 000, 000 in
punitive damages. Id. After QBE rejected
Thompson's offer to settle the claims for $18, 500, 000,
the state district court entered an amended judgment against
Lamplight for $24, 787, 550.47, including fees and costs.
Id. QBE moved to intervene in the action, but the
motion was denied. Id. at 5. Lamplight appealed the
judgment, and the appeal is still pending. (ECF No. 18 at 3).
served QBE with a writ of garnishment on June 21, 2019.
Id. at 4. QBE removed the garnishment action on July
2, and Thompson now applies for judgment. (ECF Nos. I, 9).
garnishment actions are governed by Nevada Revised Statute
(“NRS”) Chapter 31. NRS 31.300 provides as
1. If the answer of the garnishee shows that the garnishee
has personal property of any kind in his or her possession,
or under his or her control, belonging to the defendant, the
court, upon application of the plaintiff with written notice
to the garnishee at the address supplied on the answers to
the interrogatories or to the attorney for the garnishee,
shall enter judgment that the garnishee deliver the same to
the sheriff, and if the plaintiff recover judgment against
the defendant in the action, such property or so much thereof
as may be necessary shall be sold as upon execution, and the
proceeds applied toward the satisfaction of such judgment,
together with the costs of the action and proceedings, and if
there be a surplus of such property, or of the proceeds
thereof, it shall be restored to the defendant.
2. If the answer shows that the garnishee is in possession of
money, debts, credits or choses in action, or has any of such
items under the garnishee's control, or is in any way
indebted to the defendant, then, if the plaintiff recover
judgment against the defendant in the action, the court shall
also, upon application of the plaintiff with written notice
to the garnishee or the garnishee's attorney in the
manner provided in subsection 1, enter judgment in favor of
the defendant for the use of the plaintiff against the
garnishee for the amount of the indebtedness, choses in
action, debts or credits admitted in the answer; but the
judgment against the garnishee shall not be for a greater sum
than is necessary to satisfy the judgment of the plaintiff
against the defendant, together with costs as aforesaid; and
in no case shall the garnishee be chargeable with costs
unless the garnishee's answer shall be successfully
controverted as hereinafter provided.
NEV. REV. STAT. § 31.300.
does not dispute that Thompson is entitled to Lamplight's
$2, 000, 000 policy limit held by QBE. (See
generally ECF No. 14). In fact, “QBE's claims
administrator, Armour Risk Management, Inc.,  offered to pay
Thompson the QBE policy limit of $2, 000, 000.”
Id. at 2. Indeed, QBE's answers to the writ of
garnishment included the admission that QBE “advised
[Thompson] of its willingness to tender payment of the
[p]olicy's $2, 000, 000 per-occurrence indemnity limit in
partial satisfaction of the amount of the judgment, subject
to certain conditions stated in that correspondence.”
(ECF No. 4, Exhibit 3 at 2).
the state court's order refers to a settlement agreement
between Lamplight and Thompson, which provides that
“Thompson shall not enforce or collect the [u[ltimate
[f]inal [j]udgment against Lamplight except with regard
to Lamplight's insurance.” Id.,
Exhibit 6 at 5 (emphasis added). Thus, it is undisputed that