Bridget Moorhead Wins Summary Judgment
Congratulations to Bridget Moorhead (San Diego) who, on May 5, won summary judgment in a first-party insurance coverage bad faith case entitled The Estate of Wanda Rose v. Safeco Insurance Company of America pending in San Diego Superior Court.
Safeco issued a Condominium Owners Quality Crest Policy to the insured. The policy was an "all-risk" policy that provided replacement cost value for "accidental direct physical loss" to property. The insured consigned her Steinway grand piano to a high end piano consignment shop in La Jolla in 2012. It turned out that the owner of the consignment shop ran into hard times financially and was selling pianos and not remitting the sales proceeds to the owners, most of whom were elderly. At the time the claim was made to Safeco for a "theft" of the piano, the consignor was under investigation by the San Diego City Attorney, the piano was missing, and there were no sales records to determine if and when the piano was sold. Safeco denied the claim because it could not determine the date of loss or what happened to the piano. Ultimately it was determined that the piano was sold during an active policy period, but Safeco again denied coverage because there was no "accidental direct physical loss" to the piano as required by the policy. On summary judgment, the court agreed with Safeco that there was no "direct physical loss" to the piano under MRI Healthcare Center of Glendale, Inc. v. State Farm General Ins. Co. (2010) 187 Cal.App.4th 766, 779 and AFLAC Inc. v. Chubb & Sons Inc. (2003) 260 Ga. App.306. There was also case law in California that held that when physical property is sold it is transmuted to money such that the loss was a "financial" loss and not a "physical" loss.
For additional information on this case, please contact Bridget Moorhead.
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