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Meyers Lake Sportsman's Club, Inc. v. Auto-Owners (Mutual) Insurance Co.

Court of Appeals of Ohio, Fifth District

July 15, 2013

MEYERS LAKE SPORTSMAN'S CLUB, INC., ET Al Plaintiffs-Appellees
v.
AUTO-OWNERS (MUTUAL) INSURANCE COMPANY, ET Al Defendants-Appellants

Appeal from the Stark County Court of Common Pleas, Case No. 2012CV01151

For Plaintiffs-Appellees ALLEN SCHULMAN, JAMES T. ROBERTSON WILLIAM S. PIDCOCK Robertson & Pidcock, LLC

For Defendants-Appellants BRIAN T. WINCHESTER McNeal Schick Archibald & Biro Co., LPA

Hon. John W. Wise, P.J. Hon. Patricia D. Delaney, J. Hon. Craig R. Baldwin, J.

OPINION

Baldwin, J.

{¶1} Defendant-appellants Auto-Owners (Mutual) Insurance Company and Owners Insurance Company appeal from the December 4, 2012 Judgment Entry of the Stark County Court of Common Pleas denying their Motion for Judgment on the Pleadings.

STATEMENT OF THE FACTS AND CASE

{¶2} On April 11, 2012, appellees Meyers Lake Sportsman's Club, Inc. and Meyers Lake Fish Dock, Inc. filed a complaint for declaratory judgment, breach of contract/bad faith and punitive damages against appellants. Appellees, in their complaint, alleged that appellee Sportsman's Club had filed a complaint against Meyers Lake Preserve, Inc. (Case No. 2011 CV 01990) seeking a declaratory judgment, injunctive relief and damages for breach of contract, tortious interference with contract, trespass, quiet title and punitive damages. Appellees further alleged that, on or about September 30, 2011, Meyers Lake Preserve, Inc. had filed an answer and counterclaim in such case against appellee Sportsman's Club and a counterclaim against appellee Fish Dock. Appellees alleged that the counterclaim included claims against appellee Sportsman's Club for trespass and ejectment and a claim against appellee Fish Dock for conversion.

{¶3} Appellees, in their complaint in the case sub judice also asserted that they immediately notified appellants, through their counsel in Case No. 2011 CV 01990, of the filing of the counterclaim and that appellants denied coverage under the relevant polices and refused to defend appellees in Case No. 2011 CV 01990.

{¶4} On October 24, 2012, appellants filed a Motion for Judgment on the Pleadings pursuant to Civ.R. 12(C). Appellants, in their motion, sought a declaration from the trial court that they had no duty to defend and/or indemnify appellees with respect to the claims asserted against them by Meyers Lake Preserve, Inc. in Case No. 2011 CV 01990. Appellees filed a memorandum in opposition to such motion on November 7, 2012.

{¶5} Thereafter, on November 21, 2012, a stipulation was filed dismissing the claims asserted by appellees against appellants for breach of contract and bad faith. The parties agreed that the only remaining claims were those for declaratory judgment.

{¶6} Pursuant to a Judgment Entry filed on December 4, 2012, the trial court denied appellants' Motion for Judgment on the Pleadings. The trial court, in its Judgment Entry, found that the claims asserted by the Preserve against appellees in Case No. 2011 CV 01990 were "occurrences" as such term is defined in the subject policies and that alleged personal injury to the Myers Lake Preserve was sufficient to trigger appellants' duty to defend appellees in the underlying case. A defense was late tendered under a reservation of rights.

{¶7} Appellants now raise the following assignment of error on appeal:

{ΒΆ8} THE TRIAL COURT ERRED IN DENYING DEFENDANT'S MOTION FOR JUDGMENT ON THE PLEADING ...


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