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Scottsdale Surplus Lines Insurance Co. v. Keystone Auto Sales

United States District Court, N.D. Ohio, Eastern Division

August 16, 2019

KEYSTONE AUTO SALES, et al., Defendants.


          Benita Y. Pearson United States District Judge.

         Pending is Plaintiff Scottsdale Surplus Line Insurance Company's (“Scottsdale”) Motion for Summary Judgment (ECF No. 26), filed on June 11, 2019. On July 16, 2019, the Yoder Family[1] filed a Notice (ECF No. 29) that they do not intend to submit a memorandum in opposition to the motion. The Court conducted a Telephonic Case Management Conference on August 5, 2019, at which time the Court ordered that Defendants Keystone Auto Sales (“Keystone Auto”) and Keystone Transportation, LLC (“Keystone Transportation”) (collectively “Keystone”) file a memorandum in opposition to the motion on or before August 9, 2019. See Minutes dated August 5, 2019. To date, Keystone has not submitted a memorandum in opposition. Therefore, the motion is unopposed.[2] The Court has been advised, having reviewed the record, the motion, and the applicable law. For the reasons set forth below, the motion is granted.


         On January 8, 2019, Scottsdale filed this liability insurance coverage action for declaratory relief in this Court. See Complaint (ECF No. 1). On March 22, 2019, the Yoder Family filed an Answer and Counterclaim (ECF No. 12). The Yoder Family are plaintiffs in an underlying personal injury action pending in the Marion County, Ohio Court of Common Pleas. Yoder v. Lydick, No. 2018 CV 0639.[3] Scottsdale is currently defending Keystone and Defendant Becky Porter[4] in connection with the underlying action under a reservation or rights to disclaim coverage. Declaration of Dennis Clair (ECF No. 27-2) at PageID #: 316, ¶ 7; Letter dated December 13, 2018 (ECF No. 27-2) at PageID #: 320-24.

         Keystone Auto regularly provided transportation services for a fee to members of the Amish Community. Examination Under Oath of Regis Skiffington (ECF No. 27-1) at PageID #: 260. On March 11, 2018, members of the Yoder Family were injured while occupying a 2005 Chevy Express passenger van driven by Ms. Porter, which was under the control of Keystone, when it collided with a vehicle driven by Dan Lydick on U.S. Route 23 in Marion County. The Chevrolet Express van was consigned to Keystone Auto, a car lot engaged in the business of selling automobiles. ECF No. 27-1 at PageID #: 251, 279. Keystone Auto was providing transportation services to the Yoder Family for a fee at the time of the collision. ECF No. 27-1 at PageID #: 261, 288.


         Summary judgment is appropriately granted when the pleadings, the discovery and disclosure materials on file, and any affidavits show “that there is no genuine dispute as to any material fact and the movant is entitled to judgment as a matter of law.” Fed. R. Civ. P. 56(a); see also Johnson v. Karnes, 398 F.3d 868, 873 (6th Cir. 2005). The moving party is not required to file affidavits or other similar materials negating a claim on which its opponent bears the burden of proof, so long as the movant relies upon the absence of the essential element in the pleadings, depositions, answers to interrogatories, and admissions on file. Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 322 (1986). The moving party must “show that the non-moving party has failed to establish an essential element of his case upon which he would bear the ultimate burden of proof at trial.” Guarino v. Brookfield Twp. Trustees., 980 F.2d 399, 403 (6th Cir. 1992).

         Once the movant makes a properly supported motion, the burden shifts to the non-moving party to demonstrate the existence of genuine dispute. An opposing party may not simply rely on its pleadings. Rather, it must “produce evidence that results in a conflict of material fact to be resolved by a jury.” Cox v. Ky. Dep't. of Transp., 53 F.3d 146, 150 (6th Cir. 1995). The non-moving party must, to defeat the motion, “show that there is doubt as to the material facts and that the record, taken as a whole, does not lead to a judgment for the movant.” Guarino, 980 F.2d at 403. In reviewing a motion for summary judgment, the court must view the evidence in the light most favorable to the non-moving party when deciding whether a genuine issue of material fact exists. Matsushita Elec. Indus. Co. v. Zenith Radio Corp., 475 U.S. 574, 587-88 (1986); Adickes v. S.H. Kress & Co., 398 U.S. 144 (1970).

         The United States Supreme Court, in deciding Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242 (1986), stated that in order for a motion for summary judgment to be granted, there must be no genuine issue of material fact. Id. at 248. The existence of some mere factual dispute between the parties will not defeat an otherwise properly supported motion for summary judgment. Scott v. Harris, 550 U.S. 372, 380 (2007). A fact is “material” only if its resolution will affect the outcome of the lawsuit. In determining whether a factual issue is “genuine, ” the court must decide whether the evidence is such that reasonable jurors could find that the non-moving party is entitled to a verdict. Id. Summary judgment “will not lie . . . if the evidence is such that a reasonable jury could return a verdict for the nonmoving party.” Id. To withstand summary judgment, the non-movant must show sufficient evidence to create a genuine issue of material fact. Klepper v. First Am. Bank, 916 F.2d 337, 342 (6th Cir. 1990). The existence of a mere scintilla of evidence in support of the non-moving party's position ordinarily will not be sufficient to defeat a motion for summary judgment. Id.


         Scottsdale issued to Regis Skiffington DBA: Keystone Auto Sales a garage insurance policy, No. CGH0000156, for the May 3, 2017 to May 3, 2018 policy period (“Policy”). ECF No. 1-1; ECF No. 27-2 at PageID #: 316, ¶ 5.

         Scottsdale moves the Court to declare that it has no duty to defend or indemnify Keystone and/or Ms. Porter in connection with the underlying personal injury action. It argues that coverage is precluded by (1) the Livery Exclusion under the Covered Autos Liability Coverage Part and (2) the Auto Exclusion under the General Liability Coverages in the Policy. The Court concludes these exclusions in the Policy entirely preclude coverage, which in turn, bar any duty to defend or indemnify Plaintiff could even arguably have to Keystone and/or Ms. Porter.

         Scottsdale also moves the Court to find the Yoder Family's Counterclaim (ECF No. 12) has no merit because the application of the two exclusions prelude the Yoder ...

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