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Last updateFri, 22 Feb 2019 12am







    Wednesday, February 20, 2019-8:08:10A.M.






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US judge denies motion for partial summary judgment in insurance lawsuit

DISTRICT Court for the NMI Chief Judge Ramona V. Manglona has denied the second motion for partial summary judgment by Dong-Youl Lim and Moon Hee Ko who sued a Guam-based insurance company for not defending them in a wrongful death claim over a fatal car accident in 2013.

Dong-Youl Lim and Moon Hee Ko stated in their complaint  that they were forced to settle with the decedent’s family for $300,000.

Represented by attorneys Charles P. Reyes Jr. and William Satterberg,  Lim and Ko sued Pacific Indemnity Insurance for breach of contract, breach of covenant of good faith and fair dealing, violation of the Consumer Protection Act,  fraud and intentional misrepresentation.

The couple wanted the court to find that Pacific Indemnity settled with the wrong party when it negotiated the settlement and release of claims.

They said the mother of the deceased, acting in her capacity as the administratrix of her son’s estate and not as the statutory, wrongful death personal representative, negotiated a purported settlement with Pacific Indemnity Insurance.

The couple asked the court to hold the insurance company liable to pay them damages, court costs, and attorney’s fees.

Pacific Indemnity said it paid policy limits in the settlement reached in an earlier negotiation with the decedent’s mother on her wrongful death claim and as a representative of her son’s estate.

Pacific Indemnity said pursuant to the terms of the policy, its obligation to defend and indemnify the insured ended upon the payment of policy limits.

In her order, Judge Manglona said there is no legal authority in the CNMI to support the claim that the mother of the deceased was required to separately or expressly be appointed as personal representative to pursue a wrongful death claim once she was granted the authority as administratrix.

She said the plaintiffs themselves “do not identify any legal authority to suggest (1) that the administratrix cannot be the personal representative of a decedent in a wrongful death claim or (2) that there is a legal requirement  for the Superior Court to expressly state in appointing an administratrix for an estate that said  administratrix is also appointed for purposes of a wrongful death action.”

There is no dispute of material fact that the deceased’s mother was the proper party-in-interest to settle with Pacific Indemnity Insurance, the judge added.