December 9, 2019

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Court Denies Motion to Reconsider Order Compelling Arbitration

Plaintiffs Kevin Struss, Struss Farms LLC, and Struss & Cook Farms brought certain tort and breach of contract claims against Rural Community Insurance Co. (RCIC) and Scott Laaveg, RCIC’s claims representative. The claims arose from insurance contracts between the parties under which RCIC insured the plaintiffs’ crops.

After motions were made to compel arbitration, the court ordered briefing on the issue of the scope of the arbitration clause. The court compelled arbitration of all claims against RCIC and stayed all claims against Laaveg. The defendants moved to reconsider, arguing that only the contract claims should be arbitrated, not the tort claims.

The court explained that a motion to reconsider is based on: (1) an intervening change in controlling law; (2) the availability of new evidence; or (3) the need to correct clear error or prevent manifest injustice. It is generally not appropriate for a court to reconsider issues that it has already addressed. The court noted that the defendants never advanced any argument in their prior filings or supplemental briefing concerning the scope of the arbitration clause as between contract and tort claims, or otherwise. Therefore, the court declined to reconsider its prior ruling and referred all claims against RCIC to arbitration. Similarly, the court held that it was not appropriate to revisit its decision to stay the claims against Laaveg.

Struss v. Rural Community Ins. Servs., No. 2:18-cv-02187 (D. Kan. Oct. 11, 2019).

©2011-2019 Carlton Fields, P.A.

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Rachel Schwartz Insurance Attorney
Associate

Rachel J. Schwartz represents property and casualty insurance industry clients in litigation and counsels them on varied coverage matters, including coverage disputes arising under Commercial General Liability and Directors & Officer policies.

Rachel drafts pleadings, discovery requests and responses, and motions regarding declaratory judgment actions. She reviews insurance policies and conducts legal research on various insurance coverage topics, including late notice, policy exclusions, duty to defend, allocation, and NY Ins. L. 3420(d). She prepares tenders, carrier position...

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