United States District Court, M.D. Florida, Fort Myers Division
SAFECO INSURANCE COMPANY OF ILLINOIS and SAFECO INSURANCE COMPANY OF AMERICA, Plaintiffs,
JOSEPH A. TREMBLAY, CODY JAMES MORRISON, ROMARRIO ANTHONY SCOTT, RAQUEL MARIA NUNEZ, JULIE LIPPSON and STEVEN LIPPSON, Defendants.
OPINION AND ORDER 
POLSTER CHAPPELL UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
Pending before the Court is a Motion for Summary Judgment
filed by Plaintiffs Safeco Insurance Company of Illinois
(“Safeco Illinois”) and Safeco Insurance Company
of America (“Safeco America”). (Doc. 78). Only
Defendant Cody James Morrison opposes their motion (Doc. 82),
to which Plaintiffs have replied (Doc. 85). For the following
reasons, the Court grants in part and denies in part
bring this declaratory judgment suit to resolve an insurance
coverage dispute. The facts are largely undisputed. In July
2015, Defendant Joseph Tremblay leased a Nissan Rogue for
Defendant Julie Lippson. About nine months later, on April
16, 2016, Julie's husband was driving the Rogue when he
allegedly caused an accident that injured Morrison. (Doc. 78
at ¶ 7). Morrison sued Tremblay and Julie's husband
for negligence in state court. (Doc. 78-13). That underlying
suit remains ongoing.
the accident, Safeco Illinois issued Tremblay two car
insurance policies that covered specific cars he owned and
named Tremblay and Louise Wilcox as the rated drivers. (Doc.
78 at ¶¶ 1-2; Doc. 78-2; Doc. 78-3). It also issued
Tremblay a motorcycle insurance policy for specific
motorcycles he owned and named him as the only rated driver.
(Doc. 78 at ¶ 3; Doc. 78-4). In addition to the car and
motorcycle policies, Safeco America issued Tremblay an
umbrella insurance policy that, among other things, required
him to provide underlying liability insurance for all motor
vehicles he owned, leased, or used. (Doc. 78 at ¶ 4;
Doc. 78-4 at 6). The above insurance policies were in effect
at the time of the April 2016 accident. Important here,
Tremblay never added the Rogue to any policy. Nor did he tell
Safeco Illinois and Safeco America about the leased Rogue
until about two weeks after the accident. (Doc. 78 at ¶
bring this three-count action under the Declaratory Judgment
Act (the “Act”), 28 U.S.C. § 2201. (Doc.
59). In Counts I and II, Safeco Illinois seeks a declaration
that Tremblay's car and motorcycle policies do not cover
claims from the April 2016 accident, and thus it has no duty
to defend or indemnify Tremblay or any defendant. (Doc. 59 at
¶¶ 44-80). In Count III, Safeco America wants a
declaration that the umbrella policy provides limited
indemnity coverage only for Tremblay's liability from the
accident. It also wants the Court to declare,
“Safeco's (and Tremblay's) payment obligations
will be limited because Florida's financial
responsibility law caps the vicarious liability claims
against Tremblay” to specific amounts. (Doc. 78 at 2;
Doc. 59 at ¶¶ 81-99).
now move for summary judgment on all counts. Morrison opposes
the motion, focusing solely on Safeco America's duty to
indemnify Tremblay under the umbrella policy.
court shall grant summary judgment if the movant shows 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. The moving party bears the burden of showing
that no genuine issues of material fact remain. Celotex
Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 323 (1986). A genuine
dispute of material fact exists if “the evidence is
such that a reasonable jury could return a verdict for the
nonmoving party.” Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477
U.S. 242, 248 (1986). To defeat summary judgment, the
non-movant must “go beyond the pleadings, and present
affirmative evidence to show that a genuine issue of material
fact exists.” Porter v. Ray, 461 F.3d 1315,
1320 (11th Cir. 2006) (citation omitted).
reviewing a motion for summary judgment, the court views the
evidence and all reasonable inferences drawn from the
evidence in the light most favorable to the non-movant.
See Battle v. Bd. of Regents, 468 F.3d 755,
759 (11th Cir. 2006). But “[a] court need not permit a
case to go to a jury . . . when the inferences that are drawn
from the evidence, and upon which the non-movant relies, are
‘implausible.'” Mize v. Jefferson City
Bd. of Educ., 93 F.3d 739, 743 (11th Cir. 1996)
Car and Motorcycle Policies (Counts I and II)
Illinois argues it has no duty to defend Tremblay (and the
Lippsons) in Morrison's underlying state suit because
Tremblay's car and motorcycle policies do not cover
bodily injury or property damage claims arising from the
April 2016 accident. According to Safeco Illinois, no
coverage exists because Tremblay never insured the Rogue
under the policies and the Lippsons are not
“insureds.” (Doc. 78 at 6-11). No Defendant,
including Morrison, challenges Safeco Illinois' arguments
on Counts I and II. (Doc. 82 at 5-6).
careful review of the insurances policies and applicable law,
the Court finds Safeco Illinois to be right. The car and
motorcycle policies issued to Tremblay do not cover any
claims arising from the April 2016 accident. (Doc. 78-2, Doc.
78-3, Doc. 78-4). Consequently, Safeco Illinois has no duty
to defend Tremblay, the Lippsons, or anyone else under these
policies. And because there is no duty to defend, there is no
duty to indemnify. SeeNorthern Assurance Co. of
Am. v. Custom Docks by Seamaster, Inc., No.
8:10-cv-1869-T-27MAP, 2011 WL 117046, at *2 (M.D. Fla. 2011)
(“If it is determined that [an insurer] has no duty to
defend its ...