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.
matter comes before the Court on Plaintiff Safeco Insurance
Company of America's Motion for Reconsideration (Doc. 96)
and Defendant Cody Morrison's Response in Opposition
(Doc. 97). Safeco America moves the Court to reconsider its
Opinion and Order that granted in part and denied in part
Plaintiffs' summary judgment motion. (Doc. 94). For the
following reasons, the Court grants in part and denies in
part Safeco America's motion.
declaratory judgment suit arose to resolve an insurance
coverage dispute. In July 2015, Defendant Joseph Tremblay
leased a Nissan Rogue for his friend, Defendant Julie
Lippson. (Doc. 78 at ¶ 5). In April 2016, Julie's
husband, Seth Lippson, was driving the Rogue when he
allegedly caused an accident that injured Morrison.
(Id. at ¶ 7). Thereafter, Morrison sued
Tremblay and Seth Lippson for negligence in Florida state
court. (Doc. 78-13). The underlying state court
action remains ongoing.
the car accident, Safeco Insurance Company of Illinois issued
Tremblay three motor vehicle policies. (Docs. 78 at
¶¶ 1-3; 78-2; Doc. 78-3; 78-4). The policies
covered two cars and one motorcycle. (Docs. 78-2; 78-3;
78-4). In addition to these policies, Safeco America issued
Tremblay an umbrella insurance policy, which 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). These policies were in effect at the time of the car
accident. Notably, Tremblay failed to add the Nissan Rogue to
any policy and Plaintiffs were unaware of the leased vehicle
until two weeks after the accident. (Doc. 78 at ¶ 6).
bring this three-count action under the Declaratory Judgment
Act, 28 U.S.C. § 2201. (Docs. 1; 10). On May 7, 2018,
the Court granted Plaintiffs' summary judgment motion as
to Counts I and II because the automobile and motorcycle
policies did not cover the April 2016 car accident and, thus,
Safeco Illinois had no duty to defend/indemnify Tremblay, the
Lippsons, or anyone else under the policies. (Doc. 94 at 4).
As to Count III, the Court denied summary judgment because it
lacked jurisdiction to decide the unripe issue of whether
Safeco America had a duty to indemnify Tremblay under the
umbrella policy. (Id. at 5-8). Safeco America now
seeks reconsideration of the Court's ruling on Count III.
district court has considerable discretion in deciding
whether to grant a motion for reconsideration. See Drago
v. Jenne, 453 F.3d 1301, 1305 (11th Cir. 2006). In
exercising its discretion, the court balances two competing
interests: the need for finality and the need to render just
rulings based on all the facts. The former typically
prevails, as reconsideration of an order is an
extraordinarily remedy used sparingly. See Am.
Ass'n of People with Disabilities v. Hood, 278
F.Supp.2d 1337, 1339 (M.D. Fla. 2003); Lamar Adver. of
Mobile, Inc. v. City of Lakeland, 189 F.R.D. 480, 489
(M.D. Fla. 1999). “A motion for reconsideration must
demonstrate why the court should reconsider its prior
decision and set forth facts or law of a strongly convincing
nature to induce the court to reverse its prior
decision.” Fla. Coll. of Osteopathic Med., Inc. v.
Dean Witter Reynolds, Inc., 12 F.Supp.2d 1306, 1308
(M.D. Fla. 1998).
recognize three grounds to justify reconsideration of a prior
order: (1) an intervening change in controlling law; (2) the
availability of new evidence; and (3) the need to correct a
clear error or manifest injustice. See McCreary
v. Brevard Cnty, Fla., No. 6:09-cv-1394, 2010 WL
2836709, at *1 (M.D. Fla. July 19, 2010). “A motion to
reconsider is not a vehicle for rehashing arguments the
[c]ourt has already rejected or for attempting to refute the
basis for the [c]ourt's earlier decision.”
Parker v. Midland Credit Mgmt., Inc., 874 F.Supp.2d
1353, 1359 (M.D. Fla. 2012); see also Michael Linet, Inc.
v. Vill. of Wellington, 408 F.3d 757, 763 (11th Cir.
2005). “A motion to reconsider should raise new issues,
not merely redress issues previously litigated.”
PaineWebber Income Props. Three Ltd. P'ship v. Mobil
Oil Corp., 902 F.Supp. 1514, 1521 (M.D. Fla. 1995);
see also Ludwig v. Liberty Mut. Fire Ins. Co., No.
8:03-cv-2378, 2005 WL 1053691, at *11 (M.D. Fla. Mar. 30,
2005) (stating “a motion for reconsideration is not the
proper forum for [a] party to vent dissatisfaction with the
America seeks reconsideration of the Court's ruling on
Count III because it (1) did not address Safeco America's
duty to defend and indemnify Julie and Seth Lippson under the
umbrella policy; and (2) declined to exercise jurisdiction
over whether Safeco America had a duty to indemnify Tremblay.
(Doc. 96). Morrison agrees that the Court should have decided
whether Safeco America has a duty to defend/indemnify Julie
or Seth Lippson under the umbrella policy. (Doc. 97 at 2).
However, Morrison argues that the Court should deny
reconsideration as to Tremblay because the Court correctly
found it lacked jurisdiction to decide Safeco America's
duty to indemnify Tremblay. (Id. at 5-7). The Court
will discuss Safeco America's two arguments below.
Duty to Defend/Indemnify Lippsons Under the Umbrella
America and Morrison agree that the Court should decide
whether Safeco America has a duty to defend and indemnify
Julie or Seth Lippson under the umbrella policy issued to
Tremblay. (Docs. 96 at 1-2; 97 at 1-2). Safeco America also
argues the Court's failure to do so in its prior Opinion
and Order was clear error. Because the parties agree to a
declaration on this matter, the Court will provide one here.
start, the Court has jurisdiction to decide whether Safeco
America has a duty to defend Julie and Seth Lippson
under the umbrella policy even though the underlying state
action is ongoing. SeeColony Ins. Co. v.
Montecito Renaissance, Inc., No. 8:09-CV-1469-T-30MAP,
2011 WL 4529948, at *14 (M.D. Fla. Sept. 30, 2011) (“In
Florida, at least where the declaratory judgment action will
not decide facts that will be decided in the underlying case,
courts should decide an insurer's duty to defend before
the resolution of the underlying case as it is an
‘irreparable injury' for an insurer to defend a
case when no duty to defend exists.” (citations
omitted)); see alsoHartford Fire Ins. Co. v.
Peninsula Logistics, Inc., No. 6:14-cv-00154-GAP-GJK,
2014 WL 1416339, *2 (M.D. Fla. Apr. 11, 2014) (“An
insurer is irreparably injured if it is required to defend a
case without a contractual ...