Showing posts with label murder by Accident. Show all posts
Showing posts with label murder by Accident. Show all posts

AMTRAK Railroad says woman killed by train at Davis station not on cellphone

By PETE BENNETT - Contra Costa Watch EMAIL
Phone: 510-460-5641
Posted: 01/13/2004 
Discovery Date:  01/13/2004 
Incident Date: 11/14/2013Reposted to Protect My Sons

Remote Viewing Station #1: Somewhere in a North Bay Starbucks my magnetism delivered another tragedy as the gal sitting across from me knew this young woman who walked in front of a train just like PayPal SVP Eric Salvateria did at the Menlo Park CalTrain station in 2012. 

More later on these dubious accidents.    

Railroad says woman killed by train at Davis station not on cellphone

Nov 18, 2013 
DAVIS, Calif. - The young woman hit and killed by an Amtrak Train in Davis Sunday night has been identified as 29-year-old Andrea Mrotz from Vallejo.
According to Davis police, at least one witness said Mrotz was on her phone prior to the train collision. At least one witness also tried to yell and warn Mrotz.
Officers talked to several witnesses including the train conductor. According to police, Mrotz, was in the danger zone.
Police say Mrotz was crossing the tracks when she was struck by the train.
Loved ones say Mrotz was an intelligent and responsible young lady who was familiar with the Davis Amtrak station and used the train regularly.
Alberta Jones says her niece was not someone who took things lightly.
"She was standing next to her belongings when she got hit," said Jones. "We don't know how she ended up on the tracks. That we don't understand."
Amtrak and Union Pacific Railroad were reviewing surveillance video from the incident.
"Until you see the video, we don't know how she ended on the tracks. That we don't know. She wasn't crossing back and forth. We still don't know if she was on her phone," said Jones.
Jones said Mrotz had an incoming call before the accident, but it was not certain that her niece was on the phone when she was killed.
Sunday night, A Union Pacific worker said there were additional passengers on the train because of the Raiders game. Mrotz's family believes the train was longer than usual. And, they believe there were a number of additional factors that may have contributed to Mrotz's death.
Amtrak and Union Pacific Railroad were not commenting on the investigation.
Mrotz graduated from UC Davis in microbiology several years ago.
According to her LinkedIn profile, she was a leader and organizer of LabelGMOs: California's Grassroots for the Vallejo and Benicia area. She stated that she organized group volunteer meetings and marches and advocated for sustainable farming practices.
On her Facebook page, Mrotz has many posts about her activism in public health and protecting the environment.
She was also an avid and accomplished sailor and often taught people how to sail with the Benicia Yacht Club, according to relatives. 
By Suzanne Phan,
Twitter: @suzannephan
Facebook: SuzannePhanNews10

Obit: John Patrick Kelly II - Another casualty of CNET

The Obituary Channel

He knew something - it leads to how Contra Costa County Jury Selection Process is tainted - all I had to do was ask Steve Weir one pointed question days before the Election in 2012.  
I'd suspected it for years . . . as so many attorneys told me it was impossible to win certain cases in Contra Costa County.  

John Patrick Kelly II

  • "I'm so very saddened to hear of John's passing. He was a..."

John Patrick Kelly II Aug. 14, 1963 - May 14, 2007 Resident of Antioch Beloved husband of Corinne Kelly of over 20 years. Devoted father to 10 year old twin girls Camille and Yvette Kelly. Devoted son to Patricia Kelly and John Kelly. Son-in-law to Donna and Bill Carpenter. Brother to Karen Kelly, Erin Toth, and Lynne Frumenti. Friend to many. John touched many lives in his short time on earth. He was active with Holy Rosary School in Antioch. He coached CYO basketball and softball, worked in the classrooms, computer labs, and chaperoned many field trips. John's passion was skydiving. He accomplished many ratings with over 3,000 skydives, as an instructor, tandem master, national skydiving team videographer, coach, and a friend and mentor to the international skydiving community; his skydiving home was Byron. John graduated from Moreau High School as valedictorian in May 1981. John was active in the Air force R.O.T.C in college and served in Marine Corps. Office Candidate School in Quantico Virginia. He was released with an honorable discharge in August 1985. While working full time he received his bachelor's degree in Political Science in August 1987 and his Master's in Public Administration in June 1994. John graduated from the Alameda County Sheriff's Department's 93rd Academy on April 15, 1988 and performed many duties as a deputy in the department including the position of Classification Officer for the Santa Rita Jail. John became a BART Police Officer in October 1990 where he performed a full range of services. On July 1992 John became the BART Police's Crime Prevention/Community Relations Officer. He received a letter of Commendation from his commander in 1998 "My success as your past Commander were due in part, to your dedication and hard work." John retired from the BART Police Department on May 1, 2000. Following retirement as a police officer John worked for Contra Costa County in the County Administrator's Office as a Human Resource Analyst and in the Elections Clerk Recorder's Office as an ASA III. After leaving employment with Contra Costa County on April 7, 2004 John sold real estate and spent his time in his daughter's classroom, volunteered as an Antioch Police Commissioner for 1 year, golfed, shared skydives and taught others, loved to tell jokes and have fun. Blue skies - peace be with you now. A trust fund will be set up for his daughters' education. Holy Rosary School, 25 East 15th St., Antioch, CA 94509 (925) 757-1270, ext. 40, attention Cathy Vanderklugt. Rosary Services, 7 p.m., Wednesday, May 23, 2007; mass services with lunch reception, 10 a.m., Thursday, May 24, 2007, both at Holy Rosary Church. For additional information please visit TraditionCare(925) 755-291
- See more at:

Two BART workers struck, killed by train near Walnut Creek

By PETE BENNETT - Contra Costa Watch EMAIL
Phone: 510-460-5641
Posted: 10/24/2013

Reposted to Protect My Sons

Two BART workers struck, killed by train near Walnut Creek

By Matthias Gafni, Gary Peterson and Katie Nelson Contra Costa Times
POSTED:   10/19/2013 02:18:50 PM PDT | UPDATED:   4 DAYS AGO

WALNUT CREEK -- Two BART employees were struck and killed by one of the transit agency's trains between the Walnut Creek and Pleasant Hill stations Saturday afternoon -- while most of the system sat idle on the second day of a strike that has forced hundreds of thousands of commuters to seek alternate means of travel.
The accident happened about 1:53 p.m. on the Pittsburg/Bay Point line, between the Walnut Creek and Pleasant Hill stations, near the intersection of Jones Road and Chandon Court.
A statement from BART management said that the employees -- one BART employee and one contractor -- were performing track inspections at the time of the accident. Both had "extensive" experience working around moving trains, according the statement, which said that procedures called for one worker to inspect the track and the other to act as a lookout, watching for any oncoming traffic.
"Our hearts and prayers go out to the families of the two workers killed on the BART track," said BART general manager Grace Crunican, who showed up to the scene Saturday afternoon.
Officials from Amalgamated Transit Local 1555, one of the two unions on strike, ended a rally at the Pittsburg/Bay Point station once they received word of the accident and offered their own statement: "Our hearts go out to any BART comrades involved in today's incident. In the midst of this (strike), no one deserves to die." The union announced that it was canceling all labor rallies planned for Sunday.
A similar sentiment was echoed by Service Employees International Local 1021 in its own statement: "We express our deepest sympathies for the families of the individuals who died in this tragic accident."
BART officials said the train was being run by an "experienced" operator, and was in automatic mode and under computer control at the time of the accident. The manager was operating the train to shuttle a "couple cars in the Concord yard that were (tagged with graffiti)" to Richmond for a cleanup, said assistant general manager Paul Oversier. The manager was on his way back to Concord at the time of the accident.
A review of BART radio communications indicate a male train operator, who sources say was an operator supervisor who regularly drove trains some two decades ago, reported a "BART emergency" to central operations, noting that the train had just struck "some individuals" and advising that they "may be BART employees."
A technician on the train is asked to check for bodies and he reports the first one on the trackway. A "second victim" is then reported 50 yards away on Track C-1.
The male train operator reports that "both are deceased and definitely BART employees."
On another recording, a woman can be heard announcing that "There are no personnel wayside (adjacent to the tracks)."
Within five seconds, a second voice can be heard contradicting that report: "Attention all personnel: We do have personnel wayside between C-40 and C-50 on the C1 and C2 tracks."
Central BART communication officers are among the workers currently on strike. It was unclear who was operating the dispatch center while trains were moving.
One BART worker, who asked not to be named, said the accident should not have happened.
"These people are not trained to do these jobs," said the anonymous BART worker, referring to managers, some former train operators, who have been moving trains during the work stoppage.
BART trains have been idle for commuters since Friday due to a labor strike, but some managers have moved trains for other purposes. BART union representatives have repeatedly warned that allowing managers to operate the trains would be dangerous.
A BART police officer looks out of a BART car that struck and killed two people along Jones Road in Walnut Creek, Calif., on Saturday, Oct. 19, 2013. (Dan Rosenstrauch/Bay Area News Group)
When asked about those warnings, BART Assistant General Manager Paul Oversier said "we're not going there."
"We're dealing with a tragedy. The labor issues are not in the forefront of our mind," Oversier said. "This is a tragedy of the greatest proportion for the BART family.
"What they were doing today was something they had done hundreds, if not thousands of times in their careers."
The last BART worker killed while on duty was James Strickland, 44, who was killed on Oct. 14, 2008 as he was inspecting track on the same line near Oak Grove Road in Concord. In 2001, a worker was struck and killed in an underground section of track between 16th Street-Mission and 24th Street-Mission stations in San Francisco.
Four other BART workers have died on the job in the agency's 41 years of operation.
Check back for updates.
Contact Matthias Gafni at 925-952-5026. Follow him at

Brrzzzt! U.S. Army checks out laser-based lightning tech

By PETE BENNETT - Contra Costa Watch EMAIL
Phone: 510-460-5641
Posted: 06/13/2013

Protect My Sons

In 2011 my car was totaled in a similar fashion.  The Lafayette Police have refused to investigate the accident just like they refused to investigate the near fatal 2004 assault and truck fire.  

Note: New Tagging System in the works.    

Brrzzzt! U.S. Army checks out laser-based lightning tech

Earlier this spring, the U.S. Army revealed the existence of a project underway to build a device that could shoot lightning bolts down laser beams to take out a target. Now the military's boffins report success in their first tests.

The technology -- known as laser-induced plasma channel -- is designed to seek out targets that conduct electricity better than the air or ground that surrounds them.

Although scientists and engineers working on the weapon's development expressed confidence in the physics behind their work, George Fischer, who is the lead scientist on the project, nonetheless cautioned about the technical challenges still ahead.

"If the light focuses in air, there is certainly the danger that it will focus in a glass lens, or in other parts of the laser amplifier system, destroying it," according to Fischer. "We needed to lower the intensity in the optical amplifier and keep it low until we wanted the light to self-focus in air.
Laser weaponry is moving apace. In early May, for example, Northrop Grumman demonstrated a prototype system that burned through the skin of a drone playing the part of a cruise missile for the test. However, Fischer pointed to the challenges involved in synchronizing the laser with the high voltage, as well as how to build a device that's sufficiently rugged so as to stand up under extreme environmental conditions. The system would also need to be able to perform in the field over extended periods of time, he said, adding that a number of high-tech components would need to run continuously.

It remains unclear how soon the military can weaponize this sort of technology. A representative from the Picatinny Arsenal, headquarters for the project, was not available for comment.

However, there's clear interest in getting this done as the battlefield bottom line in having a weapon which can harness lightning bolts is huge in terms of the amount of energy generated.

"If a laser puts out a pulse with modest energy, but the time is incredibly tiny, the power can be huge," according to Fischer. "During the duration of the laser pulse, it can be putting out more power than a large city needs, but the pulse only lasts for two-trillionths of a second."

Benny Chetcuti Jr.Creditor List

By PETE BENNETT - Contra Costa Watch EMAIL
Phone: 510-460-5641
Posted: 06/22/2013

Protect My Sons

Related: Murder for Assets / APS Wake Up Call

Benny Chetcuti and Associates 


Obit: Margaret Lesher May 13, 1997 Drowning of heiress left many questions, rumors

Walnut Creek CA: The Suspicious deaths of Margaret Lesher and the son of former late Senator John A Nejedly, John T. Nejedly.

Under a Cloud of Suspicion / Gossip plagues man after wife's death

Editor's Note: Sam McManis takes over the thrice-weekly Contra Costa column from John King, who becomes The Chronicle's urban design writer. King's column on the new Ritz-Carlton resort is on Page One today. McManis, 41, has written columns and features for The Chronicle's Friday sections for three years. He has also been a reporter for the Los Angeles Times and a columnist for the Contra Costa Times.
Four nights a week, to wild applause and squeals of shock, he lies in the dirt and lets a 3,000-pound buffalo crush his chest. He sits astride the rampaging beast and soars through rings of fire. Toting .45-caliber rifles, his posse deftly shoots objects out of people's mouths.
At show's end, Collin "T.C." Thorstenson doffs his cowboy hat to bask in the approval of an adoring audience at the Rawhide Wild West Town in Scottsdale, Ariz. Folks cheer, they fawn, they pose for photos with him.
"People absolutely love his show," said Rawhide publicist Dawn M. Sullivan. "T.C.'s very popular." 
But he also occasionally hears the whispers, the vicious gossip, the scurrilous accusations that he had something to do with the death of Orinda newspaper heiress Margaret Lesher nearly four years ago at a remote lake outside of the couple's Scottsdale ranch. 
He hears the talk, but he chooses to tune out. Keep smiling, keep showing off his beloved buffalo, Harvey Wallbanger Jr. The show, you know, must go on.
"You got to get on with life," Thorstenson said in his first extended interview with a Bay Area reporter. "Things happen that are major, you still got to make a living. They're trying to throw s-- into my face all the time when what they say never happened."
If Thorstenson were to come back to Contra Costa -- where he is considered, in some social circles, as the male version of Anna Nicole Smith -- he'd hear a lot more than whispers about his six-month whirlwind marriage to Lesher, 25 years Thorstenson's senior.
Though the Maricopa County sheriff long ago ruled Lesher's death accidental,
and authorities say Thorstenson never was a suspect, some still point a finger at the widower.
These are people who crave neat and tidy endings, who want the closure only a criminal conviction would bring. To them, Thorstenson is the logical choice as the villain. He gained more than $5 million of Lesher's $100 million estate after her death. He was, remember, with her at the lake in the early-morning hours of May 14, 1997, when she disappeared. And he, in the minds of Lesher's relatives, never came off as sincere in the grieving-husband role.
"There's no one in this county who thinks my mother's death was an accident, " said Wendi Alves, one of Lesher's four daughters. "I mean, come on, I hear he sought out somebody like my mother. That's all I can say. My attorney doesn't want me to make any accusations. But I think the entire community thinks he had something to do with it."
Vanity Fair and People magazines have long since moved onto other scandalous celebrity deaths, ones with easily identifiable villains. Even "Hard Copy" dropped its weekly leering into the Lesher lives after Thorstenson was cleared.
In upscale Scottsdale and opulent Orinda, though, curiosity lingers. Thorstenson, 43, knows it and accepts it, but doesn't like it one lick. He sees himself as an O.J. Simpson figure, forever dogged by the taint of his wife's death. The major difference, he quickly notes, is that he never was arrested or even was officially a suspect in the investigation.
"There are some people who, every time they hear my name, think I had something to do with it," Thorstenson said. "They talk behind my back -- the reporters, the people up (in Contra Costa). It's a sorry situation when something like that happens.
"I'm a little bitter, to say the least. Unless you lose somebody you love, you probably won't ever understand how I feel. Picture something happening to your wife or kids and then have to (watch) people coming after you like you did it when you were 100 percent innocent. Wouldn't that put you in a defensive mode?"
Thorstenson and his bison haven't appeared in Northern California since 1998. These days, he works quietly at the 17-acre Scottsdale ranch he inherited from Margaret after an acrimonious out-of-court estate settlement with the Lesher children. He has an exclusive engagement, Thursdays through Sundays, to perform at the Rawhide Wild West Town in Scottsdale.
Rawhide is sort of a cowboy's Disneyland, and Thorstenson is its E-ticket ride. T.C.'s act is described on Rawhide's customer phone line as featuring "six-gun spinnin', cowboy mounted shootin', bullwhip crackin' and buffalo ridin' " fun.
Perhaps part of Thorstenson's appeal is the cowboy-widower storyline. Then again, it could just be his charismatic bison. Regardless, T.C.'s 15 minutes of infamy seems stuck on 14:59.
"You think I'm rich, but I work," Thorstenson said. "What's wrong with smiling and enjoying how you make a living? I personally guarantee that if anyone doesn't enjoy the show, I'll give them their money back. Not a single person has asked.
"People ask to come on down and have us shoot stuff they hold in their teeth. Between me and you, we know who we're picking out of the audience for that. It's important to have people who'll stand still while you shoot."
Trust him. Thorstenson certainly knows how to pick 'em.

Obit: Catherine "Katie" Gannon Perata September 17, 1974 May 11, 2013 Resident of Napa

By PETE BENNETT - Contra Costa Watch EMAIL
Phone: 510-460-5641
Posted: 06/13/2013

Reposted to Protect My Sons 

Related: Arson / Obit / Drowning  FBI Investigation
Seems so sad to read how a mom drowned but even sadder when you look at the other cases connected to the same people.  In 2004 my sons were nearly killed in a high speed maneuver that was an attempted murder but try finding the CHP records.  The other driver was killed.   

Catherine "Katie" Gannon Perata
September 17, 1974
May 11, 2013
Resident of Napa
Katie Perata, beloved wife of Nick Reilly Perata and mother of Taylor Nicole and Paige Elizabeth Perata, was born in Alameda, CA. She moved with her family to Napa, CA in 2006 where they ran a business together.
A graduate of Cal State East Bay, Katie worked as a biologist prior to becoming a full-time mom. 
Katie was known for her creativity and sense of style, hosting wonderful children's parties featuring her elaborate custom cakes. She enjoyed spending hours volunteering at school with her girls.
Katie is the loving daughter of Nancy Gannon Mongerson and Tom Gannon; sister of Amy Polk and sister-in-law of Jerry Polk; granddaughter of Clara Cox, Gordon Cox, Cecila Gannon and Bob Gannon; daughter-in-law of Don and Maureen Perata and Rosemary Reilly; sister-in-law of Becca Perata and aunt of Mia Rosati; and cherished niece, cousin and friend to countless many.

Private funeral services have been held. In lieu of flowers, please send donations to Vichy Parent Club, 3261 Vichy Ave., Napa, CA 94558.

Seeno Attorneys - They've represented Seeno since the 80s and they run the Contra Costa Bar

By PETE BENNETT - Contra Costa Watch EMAIL
Phone: 510-460-5641
Posted: 06/13/2013

Reposted to Protect My Sons

Arson Murder - Magalia / Paradise CA
Related: Arson / Greenan Seeno CNET Contra Costa Bar

EMPLOYERS INSURANCE OF WAUSAU, a mutual company, formerly
known as Employers Mutual Liability Insurance
Company of Wisconsin, a Wisconsin
corporation, Plaintiff-Appellee,
ALBERT D. SEENO CONSTRUCTION CO., a California limited
partnership; Diablo Construction Company, a
California corporation, et al.,
No. 88-15657.
United States Court of Appeals,
Ninth Circuit.
Argued and Submitted July 18, 1991.
Decided Sept. 20, 1991.
Robert L. Sallander, Jr. and H. Paul Breslin, Archer, McComas & Lageson, Walnut Creek, Cal., for defendants-appellants.
Dale I. Larson and Robert M. Wattson, Zelle & Larson, Minneapolis, Minn., for plaintiff-appellee.
Appeal from the United States District Court for the Northern District of California.
Before GOODWIN and SNEED, Circuit Judges, and TAYLOR*, District Judge.
TAYLOR, District Judge:
Albert D. Seeno Construction Company ("Seeno") appeals from an order denying its request for a preliminary injunction requiring its insurance carrier to segregate liability claims handling from coverage investigation in a reservation of rights situation. While this issue may have been unsettled at the time of the hearing below, more recent cases show appellant's position is without merit, and we affirm.
Seeno is a real estate developer and general contractor which built residential tract housing in and around Contra Costa County, California. From 1975 to 1985 Seeno built several thousand homes in the area, and over 400 homeowners have made claims against Seeno for construction defects and soil movement. Lawsuits have been filed involving some of the homes ("litigated claims"), but the majority of the claims have not reached litigation ("unlitigated claims").
Seeno had comprehensive general liability insurance coverage with Employers Insurance of Wausau, for bodily injury and property damage, that could potentially cover the homeowners' claims. Seeno submitted the claims to Wausau, but a dispute arose over whether the claims were covered by Seeno's policies and over the proper method to handle the claims. Wausau reserved its right to deny coverage.
Seeno exercised its right to engage independent Cumis counsel,1 and brought in the firm of Archer, McComas & Lageson to handle the litigated claims. However, Seeno declined to employ Cumis counsel for the unlitigated claims and requested that Wausau handle them.
Wausau retained the law firm of Robins, Zelle, Larson & Kaplan to represent Wausau's interest in all liability and coverage litigation stemming from the homeowner claims. This firm and the insurance company's internal investigators handled both the unlitigated claims involving the homeowners and the coverage dispute involving Seeno. Seeno contends that Wausau has used the investigation and settlement of these unlitigated claims to gather information for the coverage dispute against Seeno.
Wausau brought this action for declaratory relief to determine that there is no coverage for the claims. Seeno counterclaimed, including a request for injunctive relief requiring Wausau to segregate its liability claims handling from its coverage investigation.
During what the trial judge described as an "acrimonious litigation," the parties filed cross-motions to disqualify each other's counsel for claimed breaches of duty to the other side. After a lengthy and careful analysis of some of the same contentions asserted on this appeal, the trial judge denied the motions. Employers Insurance of Wausau v. Albert D. Seeno Const., 692 F.Supp. 1150 (N.D.Cal.1988).
Thereafter, Seeno moved for a preliminary injunction to require Wausau to separate its handling of liability claims from its coverage investigation. At the hearing, the trial judge observed there was no legal authority to support Seeno's contentions and denied the motion.
The order is appealable to this court under 28 U.S.C. § 1292(a)(1) (1982). The grant or denial of a motion for a preliminary injunction is within the discretion of the district court, and the order of the district court will be reversed only if the court relied on an erroneous legal premise or otherwise abused its discretion. Chalk v. United States, 840 F.2d 701, 704 (9th Cir.1988). Questions of law underlying a preliminary injunction motion are reviewed de novo. Guam Fresh v. Ada, 849 F.2d 436, 437 (9th Cir.1988).
Seeno argued in the trial court, and again on this appeal, that California law and insurance industry practice require insurance carriers to segregate their coverage investigations from their liability claims handling. This duty, Seeno argues, arises from a fiduciary duty between an insurer and insured like that between an attorney and client, whereby the insurer must preserve and promote the insured's interests above its own and avoid even the appearance of impropriety. Thus, Seeno asserts, where the carrier reserves its right to assert a coverage defense, it must use different people on the liability side and the coverage side, without exchange of information between them. This court concludes that California law is to the contrary.
The cases relied on by Seeno as mandating file segregation do mention insurers' segregating files. See Executive Aviation, Inc. v. National Ins. Underwriters, 16 Cal.App.3d 799, 810, 94 Cal.Rptr. 347, 354 (1971) (practice of segregation unusual); Travelers Insurance Co. v. Lesher, 187 Cal.App.3d 169, 183, 231 Cal.Rptr. 791 (1986) (insurance company tried and failed to keep declaratory judgment separate from underlying action), Betts v. Allstate Ins. Co., 154 Cal.App.3d 688, 709, 201 Cal.Rptr. 528 (1984) (both parties involved in accident were insured by the same carrier, commingling of information not permitted). However, as the court below correctly observed, none of these cases, or any other California cases, requires the separation of files.
The ethical conflict that arises when an insurance attorney represents an insured, but coverage is denied, was dealt with in the landmark case of San Diego Navy Federal Credit Union v. Cumis Insurance Society, 162 Cal.App.3d 358, 208 Cal.Rptr. 494 (1984). In 1987, the California legislature codified Cumis in Cal.Civ.Code § 2860 (West 1988), providing for appointment of separate counsel to represent the insured, at the expense of the insurance carrier, in a conflict situation. Seeno's position here is contrary to the statute, which does not impose a duty to segregate and affirmatively requires disclosure to the insurance carrier of all unprivileged information relevant to the coverage dispute. Cal.Civ.Code § 2860(d).
Although there was no California case authority specifically against Seeno's position at the time of the hearing below, it has come down in the meantime. In late 1989, a California appellate court commented under similar circumstances that the fiduciary-like relation between insured and insurer does not mandate segregation of files. State Farm Fire & Casualty Co. v. Superior Court (Durant), 216 Cal.App.3d 1222, 265 Cal.Rptr. 372 (1989). In State Farm, plaintiffs sued for "bad faith" torts and contract breaches for their insurer's failure to adequately defend after accepting the insured's defense under a reservation of rights. The insurer provided Cumis counsel and retained other counsel for the declaratory relief action contesting coverage. The insurer also assigned an adjustor who dealt with the insured's counsel, although the adjustor continuously advised that he believed no coverage was available under the policy. This adjustor also was the agent who dealt with the coverage counsel, served in a dual capacity, and maintained only one file. Id. at 1225, 265 Cal.Rptr. at 373.
Plaintiffs did not claim specific injury from this dual representation, although they alleged the adjustor did transmit adverse information to coverage counsel. Plaintiffs sought discovery of all information in the adjustor's file for the bad faith action. They argued that the adjuster aiding in the liability defense is the agent of the insured and the insured's Cumis counsel, and thus plaintiffs are privileged to see everything in the file. Id. at 1226, 265 Cal.Rptr. at 374. The superior court granted the discovery request.
On appeal, Seeno appeared as amicus curiae, urging the same contention made in the present appeal. The Court of Appeals rejected Seeno's argument:The Cumis rule requires complete independence of counsel when an insurance company interposes a reservation of rights, the basis of which creates a conflict of interest. [Insured] requests that we add a layer of separation to this mandate, requiring that not only the counsel involved in the cases but the adjusters assigned to each case (the 'liability' case as distinguished from the 'coverage' case) be separate--that the files on each case be separate and apart--and indeed, as urged by amicus curiae [i.e., Seeno], that a veritable wall be erected between the insurance company's administration of the two cases. We cannot subscribe to this proposition.
Id. at 1226, 265 Cal.Rptr. at 374.
The court found that normally, although the adjustor is the agent of the insurer, he may represent both the insurer and the insured. But, when coverage is an issue, the adjustor's loyalty is divided, and the insured cannot expect him to represent the insured's interest. This is the reason, the court noted, that the insured is provided with Cumis counsel. Id. at 1227, 265 Cal.Rptr. at 375.
The court cited California law to show that, while the relation between the parties is akin to a fiduciary relationship, the protection afforded by that relationship is not unlimited, and the insurer has no duty totally to disregard its own interests. Id. at 1226, 265 Cal.Rptr. at 374. The court went on:
The insurance adjuster is the agent of the insurer ... That the adjuster can under particular fact situations become also the agent of the insured is clear, and this most usually will occur when no issue as to coverage arises. Where coverage is in issue, however, it is obvious that the adjuster's loyalties are divided and the insured and his counsel cannot reasonably expect that he represents only the interest of the insured. Indeed, it is to remedy this problem that the concept of the Cumis counsel has been created.
The existence of independent Cumis counsel adequately protects, we believe, the interests of the insured. In these days of ever-increasing costs in the processing of insurance settlements, we conclude it would be unwise to impose yet another layer of administration.
Id. at 1227, 265 Cal.Rptr. at 375 (citations omitted).
The concurring opinion in State Farm also rejected Seeno's argument:
The [insured] contends the implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing requires dual adjusters in a Cumis situation. Amicus curiae, Albert D. Seeno Construction Company, makes a similar contention, asserting 'several California decisions have recognized the need to segregate the coverage file handling from the liability claims handling.' ... [N]ot only has amicus curiae overstated the scope of existing law, there is nothing in the implied covenant to prohibit an insurer, under the circumstances of this case, in using a single adjuster for both liability and coverage ...
. . . . .
Because an insurer may appropriately consider coverage questions, and because an insured in a Cumis situation will have independent counsel charged with zealously representing solely the insured's interests, I agree with the majority's implicit conclusion that a single adjuster in the circumstances of the case does not violate the implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing.
Id. at 1234-35, 265 Cal.Rptr. at 380.
Seeno's argument is undermined by other recent cases. The same court that decided State Farm noted in another case that the California Supreme Court has "never squarely held that an insurer is a true fiduciary to its insured," but instead it "has consistently described it as a special relationship." Love v. Fire Insurance Exchange, 221 Cal.App.3d 1136, 1147, 271 Cal.Rptr. 246, 252 (1990); see also Henry v. Associated Indemnity Corp., 217 Cal.App.3d 1405, 1418, 266 Cal.Rptr. 578, 586 (1990) (no third-party breach of fiduciary duty claim lies against insurer). Similarly, a federal district court recently held that, "As best this court can determine, the current state of California law is that the relationship between an insurer and an insured has many of the elements of a fiduciary relationship, but is not an actual fiduciary relationship." Hassard, Bonnington, Roger & Huber v. Home Ins., 740 F.Supp. 789, 792 (S.D.Cal.1990); see also Love, 221 Cal.App.3d at 1149 fn. 7, 271 Cal.Rptr. at 253 fn. 7; Bennett v. Allstate Ins. Co., 753 F.Supp. 299, 302-303 (N.D.Cal.1990) (California Supreme Court has not characterized this relationship as fiduciary).
Federal courts look to the California Supreme Court for its interpretation of California law. But where that court has not definitively spoken on an issue, the decision of the state's intermediate courts represent data that a federal court must consider in undertaking its analysis. Air-Sea Forwarder, Inc. v. Air Asia Co., Ltd., 880 F.2d 176, 186 (9th Cir.1989). Although the California Supreme Court has "characterized" the insurer-insured relationship as fiduciary,2 California law seems clear that that relationship does not compel the result plaintiff seeks. These recent decisions by the California courts confirm that the relationship does not require segregation of liability and coverage files.
Seeno cites Manzanita Park v. Insurance Co. of North America, 857 F.2d 549 (9th Cir.1988), where the court applied Arizona law and construed an insurer's obligations under an attorney-client concept where the insurer retained an attorney to defend the insured. However, California law, unlike Arizona law, has not equated the insurer-insured status to an attorney-client relationship. Moreover, Manzanita Park does not deal with the dual adjuster situation. Finally, in this case the trial court determined on a previous motion that there is no attorney-client relationship between each attorney and the opposing party, Employers Ins. of Wausau, 692 F.Supp. 1150, 1160-1161, and we concur in that reasoning.
Seeno's argument that most other carriers in the California insurance industry choose to segregate their liability and coverage activities does not establish that it is Wausau's duty to do so. As stated above, the nature of Wausau's duty to its insured does not require such a segregation. The fact that other carriers may choose to segregate does not necessarily arise out of any duty to do so, but may arise from a precautious decision to avoid later complaints of mishandling from the insured.
We conclude present California law does not require an insurance carrier to segregate its liability claims handling from its coverage investigation in a reservation of rights situation. We leave it to the California legislature to decide if a change is appropriate. The trial judge committed no error, and we AFFIRM.
Honorable Gary L. Taylor, U.S. District Judge, Central District of California, sitting by designation
Cumis counsel is counsel selected by the insured to represent its interest and paid for by the insurer in a conflict of interest situation. This right to separate counsel by the insured, which takes its name from San Diego Navy Federal Credit Union v. Cumis Ins. Society, 162 Cal.App.3d 358, 208 Cal.Rptr. 494 (1984), has since been codified in Cal.Civ.Code § 2860
See Egan v. Mutual of Omaha Ins. Co., 24 Cal.3d 809, 169 Cal.Rptr. 691, 620 P.2d 141 (1970); Frommoethelydo v. Fire Insurance Exchange, 42 Cal.3d 208, 228 Cal.Rptr. 160, 721 P.2d 41 (1986)

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