San Francisco Bay Area Rapid Transit District v. Travelers Property Casualty Company of America

Northern District of California, cand-4:2015-cv-01313

ORDER GRANTING {{45}} Stipulation to Stay Action, Vacate All Dates Set in this Action, and Hold a Case Management Conference in Six Months. Joint Case Management Statement due by 10/7/2016. Further Case Management Conference set for 10/14/2016 11:00 AM in Courtroom 5, 2nd Floor, Oakland. Signed by Judge Jeffrey S. White on 4/21/16.

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1 PETER O. GLAESSNER, State Bar No. 93830 pglaessner@aghwlaw.com 2 LORI A. SEBRANSKY, State Bar No. 125211 lsebransky@aghwlaw.com 3 ALLEN, GLAESSNER, HAZELWOOD & WERTH, LLP 180 Montgomery Street, Suite 1200 4 San Francisco, CA 94104 Telephone: (415) 697-2000 5 Facsimile: (415) 813-2045 6 Attorneys for Plaintiff and Counterdefendant SAN FRANCISCO BAY AREA RAPID TRANSIT 7 DISTRICT 8 UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT 9 ALLEN, GLAESSNER, HAZELWOOD & WERTH, LLP NORTHERN DISTRICT OF CALIFORNIA 10 OAKLAND DIVISION 180 Montgomery Street, Suite 1200 San Francisco, California 94104 11 SAN FRANCISCO BAY AREA RAPID Case No. 4:15-cv-01313-JSW 12 TRANSIT DISTRICT, 13 Plaintiffs, STIPULATION AND [PROPOSED] ORDER TO STAY ACTION, VACATE ALL DATES 14 v. SET IN THIS ACTION, AND HOLD A CASE MANAGEMENT CONFERENCE IN SIX 15 TRAVELERS PROPERTY CASUALTY MONTHS COMPANY OF AMERICA, a Connecticut 16 Corporation, 17 Defendants. 18 TRAVELERS PROPERTY CASUALTY 19 COMPANY OF AMERICA, a Connecticut Corporation, 20 Counterclaimant and 21 Third-Party Claimant, 22 v. 23 SAN FRANCISCO BAY AREA RAPID 24 TRANSIT DISTRICT; SENTINEL INSURANCE COMPANY LTD., a 25 Connecticut Corporation; and DOES 1-20, inclusive, 26 Counterdefendant 27 and Third-Party Defendants. 28 STIPULATION TO STAY ACTION 1 CASE NO.: 4:15-CV-01313-JSW 95218.1 1 RECITALS 2 Plaintiff/counterdefendant San Francisco Bay Area Rapid Transit District (BARTD), 3 defendant/counterclaimant/third-party claimant/counterdefendant Travelers Property Casualty 4 Company of America, and third-party defendant/counterclaimant Sentinel Insurance Company, 5 LTD, jointly submit this Stipulation to request that the Court temporarily stay this action, vacate 6 all dates currently set in this action, and schedule a Case Management Conference to take place in 7 six months. The reasons for this request and stipulation are as follows: 8 1. This coverage dispute arises from a fatal accident that occurred on Saturday, 9 October 19, 2013 on the track between the Walnut Creek and Pleasant Hill BARTD stations. ALLEN, GLAESSNER, HAZELWOOD & WERTH, LLP 10 Christopher Sheppard, Manager of BARTD Track & Grounds, and Laurence Daniels, a contractor 180 Montgomery Street, Suite 1200 San Francisco, California 94104 11 working for Anil Verma Associates, Inc. ("AVA"), an engineering firm that is insured by 12 Travelers, were on the track the afternoon of October 19 when they were struck by a train and 13 killed. 14 2. Mr. Daniel's heirs sued BARTD for wrongful death in a civil suit styled, Amber 15 Daniels, et. al, v. Bay Area Rapid Transit District, Alameda County Superior Court No. 16 RG14725711. Plaintiffs essentially allege that BARTD negligently failed to protect Mr. Daniels 17 while he was working on tracks during rail car movement. 18 3. BARTD filed a cross-complaint against AVA in the Daniels action for declaratory 19 relief, and for implied and express indemnity and contribution. 20 4. BARTD is an additional insured under the Travelers policy under some 21 circumstances. BARTD tendered its defense of the Daniels lawsuit to Travelers under the 22 additional insured endorsement. Travelers denied that tender. BARTD filed this insurance action 23 to determine whether Travelers has an obligation to defend. 24 5. Travelers filed a third-party claim against Sentinel Insurance Company, which 25 insured Mr. Daniels' company (Daniels Engineering). By this third-party claim, Travelers 26 contends that should the Court find that Travelers owes BARTD a defense, that defense should be 27 provided by Sentinel, and not by Travelers. Sentinel denies the claims asserted against it and 28 filed a counterclaim for declaratory relief. STIPULATION TO STAY ACTION 2 CASE NO.: 4:15-CV-01313-JSW 95218.1 1 6. The parties have been working cooperatively to resolve this coverage dispute in 2 the most efficient way possible. In September 2015, BARTD and the insurers attended an initial 3 mediation session in the underlying case. Although some progress was made, the wrongful death 4 claims were not resolved. The parties to this insurance action, however, were able to discuss in 5 principle a potential settlement strategy that would encompass the BARTD's contentions 6 regarding insurers' alleged defense obligations to BARTD, and BARTD's liability claims against 7 AVA (Travelers' insured), thus resolving the claims involved in this action. 8 7. Unfortunately, settlement progress has been delayed by, inter alia, the wrongful 9 death plaintiffs' continued efforts to amend their pleadings to assert a survivorship claim ALLEN, GLAESSNER, HAZELWOOD & WERTH, LLP 10 (although Mr. Daniels died instantly), which they contend increases the value of their case by 180 Montgomery Street, Suite 1200 San Francisco, California 94104 11 several million dollars. BARTD challenged the first amended wrongful death complaint by 12 demurrer. The Superior Court agreed the pleading was defective but permitted leave to amend. 13 Further complicating the matter, in the interim, one of the plaintiffs, Amber Daniels, passed away 14 unexpectedly. A second amended complaint in the wrongful death suit was filed on or about 15 April 6, 2016. 16 8. Additionally, on September 22, 2015, the personal representative of Daniels' 17 Estate filed a second lawsuit against two BARTD employees, styled McComish v. Kappler, et. 18 al., Alameda County Superior Court No. RG15786996. BARTD also challenged that pleading by 19 demurrer. Again, the Superior Court agreed the pleading was defective but permitted leave to 20 amend. A first amended complaint in the Estate's action against the employees was filed on or 21 about April 6, 2016. 22 9. BARTD intends to challenge both amended pleadings, and must do so by May 11, 23 2016. Unfortunately, given the Superior Court's calendar, we do not expect these law and motion 24 matters to be heard until late July or perhaps early August. It will be difficult to engage in 25 productive settlement negotiations encompassing the wrongful death claims until those pleading 26 challenges are resolved. 27 10. In addition to participation in mediation in the underlying case, BARTD and the 28 insurers agreed to mediation and have had numerous telephone conferences with our appointed STIPULATION TO STAY ACTION 3 CASE NO.: 4:15-CV-01313-JSW 95218.1 1 mediator, Richard Sipos. Mr. Sipos has been a very good resource. The parties and mediator 2 agree that it makes most sense to resolve the insurance claims in conjunction with mediation of 3 the underlying wrongful death suit. 4 11. Given the delay in the underlying cases, and the parties' continued desire to work 5 toward a global resolution without incurring unnecessary litigation costs, the parties ask this 6 Court to stay this action, vacate all dates currently set in this action, and hold a case management 7 conference in six months to determine whether the stay should be lifted. The parties believe this 8 is the most efficient solution for themselves and the court. 9 STIPULATION ALLEN, GLAESSNER, HAZELWOOD & WERTH, LLP 10 For these reasons, it is hereby stipulated by and between San Francisco Bay Area Rapid 180 Montgomery Street, Suite 1200 San Francisco, California 94104 11 Transit District, Travelers Property Casualty Company of America, and Sentinel Insurance 12 Company LTD, through their respective counsel of record, and subject to the Court's approval, 13 that the action be stayed to accommodate proceedings in the underlying litigation, all dates in this 14 action be vacated, and that a Case Management Conference be held in October 2016 (six months) 15 to determine whether the stay should be lifted. 16 The parties appreciate the Court's attention and consideration. 17 Respectfully submitted, 18 Dated: April 21, 2016 ALLEN, GLAESSNER, HAZELWOOD & WERTH, LLP 19 20 By: /s/ Lori A. Sebransky 21 PETER O. GLAESSNER 22 LORI A. SEBRANSKY Attorneys for SAN FRANCISCO BAY AREA 23 RAPID TRANSIT DISTRICT 24 Dated: April 21, 2016 CATES PETERSON LLP 25 26 By: /s/ Mark D. Peterson 27 MARK D. PETERSON Attorneys for TRAVELERS PROPERTY 28 CASUALTY COMPANY OF AMERICA STIPULATION TO STAY ACTION 4 CASE NO.: 4:15-CV-01313-JSW 95218.1 1 Dated: April 21, 2016 SMITH ELLISON 2 3 By: /s/ Michael W. Ellison MICHAEL W. ELLISON 4 Attorneys for SENTINEL INSURANCE COMPANY LTD. 5 6 7 8 ORDER 9 ALLEN, GLAESSNER, HAZELWOOD & WERTH, LLP The parties' stipulation to stay this action and vacate all dates currently set in this action is 10 14 2016 at adopted. A case management conference will be held in this Courtroom on October ___, 180 Montgomery Street, Suite 1200 San Francisco, California 94104 11 11:00 a.m. A joint case management conference statement shall be filed by October 7, 2016. ___. 12 IT IS SO ORDERED. 13 14 April 21, 2016 Dated: _________________ 15 ______________________________ 16 JEFFREY S. WHITE UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 STIPULATION TO STAY ACTION 5 CASE NO.: 4:15-CV-01313-JSW 95218.1