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American Samoa Government v. Factory Mutual Insurance Co.

11/19/2002

NOT TO BE PUBLISHED


California Rules of Court, rule 977(a), prohibits courts and parties from citing or relying on opinions not certified for publication or ordered published, except as specified by rule 977(b). This opinion has not been certified for publication or ordered published for purposes of rule 977.


In a prior opinion we affirmed the compensatory portion of a judgment in favor of American Samoa Government (ASG) against Affiliated FM Insurance company (Affiliated) but reversed the award of punitive damages because of evidentiary error. We ordered the matter remanded to the trial court to conduct a hearing on ASG's motion to amend the judgment to add Allendale Mutual Insurance Company (Allendale), the alleged alter ego of Affiliated, as a party defendant to the judgment.


Upon remand, the trial court granted ASG's motion and reinstated the award of punitive damages. It also ordered that post judgment interest on the award of punitive damages accrue from the date of the original judgment. That order is challenged on appeal. We conclude that amendment of the judgment relates back to the date of the original judgment and that the trial court did not err. Accordingly, we affirm.


FACTUAL AND PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND


In 1995, a jury returned verdicts against Affiliated for $28.9 million in compensatory damages and $57.8 million in punitive damages for its failure to pay insurance proceeds to respondent ASG in connection with property damage sustained during a 1990 hurricane. From that judgment, two appeals were filed by Affiliated. One was an appeal from the original judgment (Case No. B098606), and one was from the order awarding ASG attorneys' fees (Case No. B103015). A third appeal was filed by ASG, from the trial court's order denying its motion to amend the judgment to add Allendale Mutual Insurance Company (Allendale) as a judgment debtor (Case No. B102618).


We consolidated all three appeals in November 1996. This court issued its opinion on October 10, 2000. We affirmed in part and reversed in part. The judgment for compensatory damages and attorney fees was affirmed. We reversed the award of punitive damages because the trial court had admitted evidence of Allendale's financial condition to come before the jury without any finding of alter ego between it and Affiliated. We also reversed the trial court's order denying ASG's post trial motion to amend the judgment to add Allendale as a judgment debtor. We remanded the matter to the trial court with the following directions: "The matter is remanded for rehearing on the motion to amend the judgment. If that motion is granted, the punitive damage award shall be reinstated. If there is no finding of alter ego, the issue of punitive damages must be retried to a jury in accordance with this opinion."


Upon remand, Affiliated paid to ASG the compensatory and attorney fee awards including postjudgment interest. By then, Allendale had changed its name to Factory Mutual Insurance Company (Factory Mutual), the current appellant, in connection with a 1999 merger. The parties reached a partial settlement on the punitive damages issue and entered into a stipulation which provided, in pertinent part: "1. The Court shall grant on the basis of alter ego that portion of the amended motion filed by ASG on April 23, 2001 (`ASG's Amended Motion') which seeks to add, under the doctrine of alter ego, [Factory Mutual] as an additional judgment debtor pursuant to Code of Civil Procedure section 187. The Court then shall proceed to act in accordance with California law and the directions provided in the Court of Appeal opinion of October 10, 2000, for that situation. [ ] 2. Prior to this Court e

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