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.
SECOND AMENDED  OPINION AND
POLSTER CHAPPELL, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
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 Plaintiffs' motion.
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. (Doc. 78 at ¶ 5).
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 ¶ 6).
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 requests a
declaration that (1) it has no duty to defend/indemnify Julie
or Seth Lippson because they are not “insureds”
under the umbrella policy; and (2) 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
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
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 ...