Pacific Law Partners recently had two appellate victories on matters regarding Examinations Under Oath (“EUOs”), in which the Second District Court of Appeal affirmed trial court rulings granting Motions for Summary Judgment. These unpublished opinions exemplified the long history of courts supporting the importance and necessity of EUOs in the claim process.
In Munoz v. State Farm (2017 WL 5185062), Division Five affirmed the grant of summary judgment based on the insured’s failure to participate in a supplemental EUO. The policy required, as a condition of coverage, that the insured submit to an EUO at such times as may be “reasonably required.” An initial EUO was completed but led to requests for additional information and documentation, which were never provided. The insurer requested a supplemental EUO to clarify inconsistencies and missing documents. The supplemental EUO was refused, which led to a denial based on the failure to comply with the policy terms. At the trial court level, summary judgment was based on the insured’s failure to submit to a reasonable request for a supplemental EUO. The primary argument by the insured in response was that a triable issue of fact existed as to the reasonableness of a supplemental EUO. The Court of Appeal held that, considering the insured’s undisputed failure to provide requested information, there were no triable issues of material fact as to the reasonableness of the request. Because it was undisputed that the supplemental EUO did not occur, summary judgment was appropriate.
Likewise, in Rashidi v. State Farm (Case No. 2017 WL 6379936), Division Eight also affirmed the grant of summary judgment due to the insureds’ failure to attend EUOs. Interestingly, the insureds never outright refused to attend. However, they also never provided availability for EUOs, agreed to dates offered, or otherwise presented themselves for the EUOs. The claim was denied on this basis. The court upheld the denial, finding that the insureds’ availability or willingness to attend EUOs was irrelevant and did not excuse their failure to satisfy a condition precedent to coverage.
These two cases demonstrate that California courts are supportive of the insurer’s right to conduct an EUO under the conditions provided by the policy. While an important claim-related tool, the EUO case law will remain strong as long as the process is not abused.