United States District Court, S.D. Florida
ORDER ON CROSS MOTIONS FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT
N. Scola, Jr. United States District Judge.
before the Court are the Plaintiff Matthew Mramer's
motion for partial summary judgment (ECF No. 23) and the
Defendant State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Co.'s
(“State Farm”) motion for summary judgment. (ECF
action arises out of an insurance dispute regarding whether
Mramer can recover uninsured or underinsured motorist
benefits under his mother's State Farm policy for
injuries he sustained in a car accident on November 1, 2017.
State Farm issued an automobile insurance policy to Kim
Berliner, Mramer's mother. (ECF No. 22 at ¶ 2.) Her
name is the first listed as an insured on the Declarations
Page. (Id. at ¶ 3.) The policy provides
benefits to the insured, Kim Berliner, and to her resident
relatives. The policy defines resident relative as:
a person, other than you, who resides primarily with the
first person shown as a named insured on the Declarations
Page and who is:
(1) related to that named insured or his or her spouse by
blood, marriage, or adoption, including an unmarried and
unemancipated child of either who is away at school and
otherwise maintains a primary residence with the named
insured; or (2) a ward or a foster child of that named
insured, his or her spouse or a person described in (1)
(Id. at ¶ 5.) Mramer sought benefits as a
resident relative under the policy, and State Farm denied his
claim. Mramer then filed suit in Miami-Dade Circuit Court.
(Id. at ¶ 6.) The Complaint brings two counts:
(1) a claim for declaratory relief and (2) a claim for unpaid
insurance coverage under the State Farm policy. The Defendant
later removed the case to this Court.
graduated from Florida Gulf Coast University in 2015. His
mother, Kim Berliner, moved to Florida in 2011 and lived
there with her son until he graduated. (ECF No. 30 at ¶
27.) In May of 2015 Kim Berliner moved back to Ohio, where
she lived from May 2015 through the date of the accident on
November 1, 2017. (ECF No. 22 at ¶ 14.) Mramer worked as
an ESPN intern in Cleveland and lived with his mother in Ohio
between August 2015 and January 2016. (ECF No. 30 at ¶
9.) Neither party specifies where Mramer lived from January
2016 until June 2016. From June 2016 through May 2017, Mramer
lived in Orlando at an apartment that he had leased for one
year. (ECF No. 22 at ¶ 12.) Starting in June 2017,
Mramer lived in an apartment in Miami with a roommate. He had
signed a one-year lease on the Miami apartment that would
expire in on May 31, 2018. (Id. at ¶ 17.)
Later, after the car accident on November 1, 2017, Mramer
renewed his Miami apartment lease, which expired in March
2019. (Id. at ¶ 21.)
deposition, Mramer testified that he would stay in Miami as
long as he had employment and that he was looking for jobs in
various cities including Charlotte, New York, and Cleveland.
(ECF No. 32 at ¶ 37.) Between June 2016 and November 1,
2018, Mramer visited Ohio multiple times for several days to
attend medical doctor's appointments, dentist
appointments, and for the holidays. (ECF No. 30 at ¶
35.) Mramer maintains an Ohio drivers' license, an Ohio
voter's registration, and his vehicle is registered in
Ohio. (Id. at ¶ 29.)
Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 56, “summary judgment
is appropriate where there ‘is no genuine issue as to
any material fact' and the moving party is
‘entitled to a judgment as a matter of law.'”
Alabama v. North Carolina, 130 S.Ct. 2295, 2308
(2010) (quoting Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(a)). “The moving party
bears the initial burden to show the district court, by
reference to materials on file, that there are no genuine
issues of material fact that should be decided at trial . . .
[o]nly when that burden has been met does the burden shift to
the non-moving party to demonstrate that there is indeed a
material issue of fact that precludes summary
judgment.” Clark v. Coats & Clark, Inc.,
929 F.2d 604, 608 (11th Cir. 1991). Rule 56(c)
“requires the nonmoving party to go beyond the
pleadings and by her own affidavits, or by the depositions,
answers to interrogatories, and admissions on file, designate
specific facts showing that there is a genuine issue for
trial.” Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S.
317, 324 (1986) (internal quotation marks omitted). Thus, the
nonmoving party “may not rest upon the mere allegations
or denials of his pleadings, but . . . must set forth
specific facts showing that there is a genuine issue for
trial.” Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477
U.S. 242, 248 (1986) (internal quotation marks omitted);
see also Matsushita Elec. Indus. Co., Ltd. v.
Zenith Radio Corp., 475 U.S. 574, 586 (1984) (stating
“[w]hen the moving party has carried its burden under
Rule 56(c), its opponent must do more than simply show that
there is some metaphysical doubt as to the material
Court must view the evidence in the light most favorable to
the nonmoving party, and summary judgment is inappropriate
where a genuine issue material fact remains. Adickes v.
S.H. Kress & Co., 398 U.S. 144, 158-59 (1970).
“An issue of fact is ‘material' if, under the
applicable substantive law, it might affect the outcome of
the case.” Hickson Corp. v. N. Crossarm Co.,
357 F.3d 1256, 1259-60 (11th Cir.2004). “An issue of
fact is ‘genuine' if the record taken as a whole
could lead a rational trier of fact to find for the nonmoving
party.” Id. at 1260. A court may not weigh
conflicting evidence to resolve disputed factual issues; if a
genuine dispute is found, summary judgment must be denied.
Skop v. City of Atlanta, Ga., 485 F.3d 1130, 1140
(11th Cir. 2007).
Choice of Law
diversity action, the federal court must apply the
choice-of-law rules of the forum state. La Farge Corp. v.
Travelers Indem. Co., 118 F.3d 1511, 1515 (11th Cir.
1997). “Generally, Florida enforces choice-of-law
provisions unless the law of the chosen forum contravenes
strong public policy.” Mazzoni Farms, Inc. v. E.I.
DuPont De Nemours and Co., 761 So.2d 306, 311 (Fla.
2000). “Courts should proceed with extreme caution when
called upon to declare transactions as contrary to public
policy.” Id. at 311. To enforce the provision
on this ground, “the countervailing public policy must
be sufficiently important that it outweighs the policy
protecting freedom of contract.” Id.
at 312; see also, Southeast Floating Docks, Inc.
v. Auto-Owners Ins. Co., 82 So.3d 73, 80 (Fla. 2012)
(“[a]n agreement between parties to be bound by the
substantive laws of another jurisdiction is presumptively
valid”). No. such public policy concerns have been
raised here, nor do any exist that are strong enough to