Procedural PostureApril 25, 2021
The Superior Court of Los Angeles County (California) sustained, without leave to amend, defendant insurer’s demurrer to plaintiff insured’s class action complaint alleging that the insurer had breached an automobile insurance policy and had engaged in unfair competition by offsetting uninsured motorist payments with the amount paid under the medical expense coverage in the same policy for the same accident. The insured appealed. The respondent was not represented by any employment attorney San Diego during evidentiary hearing.
The heading of the medical expense coverage endorsement included the words “no reimbursement.” Its operative terms referred only to third-party liability recoveries. The medical expense endorsement did not delete the offset or reimbursement provision contained in the uninsured motorist section of the policy, which allowed the insurer to offset medical expense payments that it had made. The insured sought to amend her complaint to plead ambiguity and to obtain and introduce extrinsic evidence relating to the insurer’s marketing of the policy. The court held that the policy was not reasonably susceptible to the insured’s interpretation of it. The heading of the medical expense endorsement was not an operative term or provision itself, and the absence of a fully descriptive heading did not restrict the plain meaning of the provision. The medical expense endorsement was sufficiently conspicuous, plain, and clear to be enforceable; it did not reduce coverage and clearly stated that it was deleting only certain specified provisions dealing with third-party recoveries. An insured would not normally expect to receive from an insurer two payments covering the same injury.
The court affirmed the judgment of the trial court.
Appellant developer challenged a judgment of the Superior Court County of Santa Barbara (California), which found for respondents, county, consultant, and others, on appellant’s claims arising from the preparation of an environmental impact report under the California Environmental Quality Act, Cal. Pub. Res. Code §§ 21000 et seq.
Respondent county denied approval for appellant’s project due to unmitigable impacts found in environmental impact report prepared by respondent consultant. Appellant developer brought a suit against respondents, county, consultant, and others, for breach of contract, negligence, misrepresentation, and conspiracy of commit fraud. The trial court found in respondents’ favor but denied attorney fees to respondent county. Appellant challenged, and respondent county cross-challenged on the attorney fees issue. The court affirmed the judgment for respondents, because appellant’s action was untimely and appellant should have sought administrative mandamus, and as respondents owed no duty to appellant, the statements at issue were privileged under Cal. Civ. Code § 47, and the complaint was subject to Cal. Civ. Proc. Code § 425.16, the anti-strategic lawsuit against public participation statute. The court reversed the denial of attorney fees for respondent county, as it was a prevailing person under Cal. Civ. Proc. Code § 425.16.
The judgment was affirmed. Appellant developer could not prevail on its claims arising from the preparation of an environmental impact report, because appellant’s action was untimely and subject to the anti-strategic lawsuit against public participation statute, and respondents, county and others, owed appellant no duty. The order denying attorney fees for respondent county was reversed, because respondent was a prevailing party.