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Ford v. State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Co.

United States District Court, W.D. Kentucky, Louisville Division

March 23, 2017

CHRISTY DICKERSON FORD PLAINTIFF
v.
STATE FARM MUTUAL AUTOMOBILE INSURANCE COMPANY; and STATE FARM GENERAL INSURANCE COMPANY DEFENDANTS

          MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

          Greg N. Stivers, Judge United States District Court

         This matter is before the Court on Defendants' Motion for Summary Judgment (DN 22). For the reasons outlined below, the motion is GRANTED.

         I. STATEMENT OF FACTS AND CLAIMS

         On September 23, 2013, Plaintiff Christy Dickerson Ford (“Ford”) was injured in an automobile collision when her car was struck by an oncoming vehicle. (Notice Removal Ex., DN 1-2 [hereinafter Compl.]). At the time of the accident, Ford had an insurance policy in effect issued by Defendant State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Company (“State Farm”). (Compl. ¶ 8; Defs.' Mem. Supp. Mot. Dismiss Ex. A, DN 22-2). That coverage included no-fault or personal-injury protection (“PIP”) benefits in the amount of $10, 000, and underinsured motorists (“UIM”) coverage in the amount of $25, 000. (Defs.' Mem. Supp. Mot. Dismiss Ex. A, at 2).

         On November 20, 2013, Ford's counsel wrote State Farm and directed State Farm to pay any remaining PIP benefits directly to her and her counsel. (Defs.' Mem. Supp. Mot. Dismiss Ex. E, DN 22-6). On November 25, 2013, State Farm sent a letter to Ford's counsel notifying him that Ford's PIP benefits had been exhausted. (Defs.' Mem. Supp. Mot. Dismiss Ex. F, DN 22-7).

         On February 15, 2016, Ford filed suit in Bullitt Circuit Court against Defendants Farm asserting claims of breach of contract relating to her policy's UIM benefits, and bad faith under common law and the Kentucky Unfair Claims Settlement Practices Act (“UCSPA”), KRS 304.12-230. (Compl. ¶¶ 7-24). Defendants subsequently removed the case to this Court. (Notice Removal, DN 1). While Ford was originally represented by counsel, her attorney withdrew during the pendency of Defendants' summary judgment motion. (Order, DN 25). Ford filed a pro se response. (Pl.'s Resp. Defs.' Mot. Summ. J., DN 27).

         II. JURISDICTION

         This Court has subject-matter jurisdiction of this matter based upon diversity jurisdiction. See 28 U.S.C. § 1332.

         III. STANDARD OF REVIEW

         In ruling on a motion for summary judgment, the Court must determine whether there is any genuine issue of material fact that would preclude entry of judgment for the moving party as a matter of law. See Fed. R. Civ. P. 56(a). The moving party bears the initial burden of stating the basis for the motion and identifying evidence in the record that demonstrates an absence of a genuine issue of material fact. See Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 322 (1986). If the moving party satisfies its burden, the non-moving party must then produce specific evidence proving the existence of a genuine issue of fact for trial. See Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 247-48 (1986).

         While the Court must view the evidence in the light most favorable to the non-moving party, the non-moving party must do more than merely show the existence of some “metaphysical doubt as to the material facts.” Matsushita Elec. Indus. Co. v. Zenith Radio Corp., 475 U.S. 574, 586 (1986) (citation omitted). Rather, the non-moving party must present specific facts proving that a genuine factual issue exists by “citing to particular parts of the materials in the record” or by “showing that the materials cited do not establish the absence . . . of a genuine dispute.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(c)(1). “The mere existence of a scintilla of evidence in support of the [non-moving party's] position will be insufficient; there must be evidence on which the jury could reasonably find for the [non-moving party].” Anderson , 477 U.S. at 252.

         IV. DISCUSSION

         State Farm moves for summary judgment on two bases: (i) that Ford's UIM claim is barred by the insurance policy's contractual limitations period; and (ii) that her UCSPA claim must fail because her underlying breach of contract claim is time-barred. (Defs.' Mem. Supp. Mot. Summ. J. 4-9, DN 22-1). Each basis will be addressed separately.

         A. Contractual ...


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