Transport Insurance Company (hereinafter Transport), and Bootheel was insured by Integral Insurance Company. Both insurance policies provided coverage for the insured's legal obligation for damages because of bodily or property damage.
Transport settled with Reid for Reid's claim for personal injury, and also with Reid's subrogee, an automobile collision insurer. Reid and Reid's subrogee signed releases as part of their settlements. Interstate has reimbursed Transport $ 35,000 of the amount Transport paid to Reid, the amount of the deductible under Interstate's insurance policy. Interstate paid $ 4,288.47 to Transport as its allocated adjustment expense under the policy, for its share of attorney's fees and expenses incurred in the defense of Reid's claim. Transport incurred an additional $ 2,835.39 in attorneys fees and expenses for the defense of Reid's claim.
Interstate prepared the Lease and the Lease form. As the Lease required, Interstate carried public liability, property damage, and cargo insurance for the operation of the leased equipment. This insurance was for the benefit of the public and the lessor. At the time of the collision, the leased tractor and trailer were in the exclusive direction and control of Interstate.
Bootheel's Motion to Dismiss
In analyzing a motion to dismiss, this court will not dismiss a complaint unless it is clear there are no set of facts that Plaintiffs could prove consistent with the pleadings that would entitle them to relief. Hishon v. King & Spalding, 467 U.S. 69, 73, 81 L. Ed. 2d 59, 104 S. Ct. 2229 (1984); Conley v. Gibson, 355 U.S. 41, 45-46, 2 L. Ed. 2d 80, 78 S. Ct. 99 (1957); Murphy v. Lane, 833 F.2d 106, 107 (7th Cir. 1987); Vaden v. Village of Maywood, 809 F.2d 361, 363 (7th Cir.), cert. denied, 482 U.S. 908, 96 L. Ed. 2d 381, 107 S. Ct. 2489 (1987). The court will accept all well-pleaded factual allegations in the complaint as true. Vaden, 809 F.2d at 363; Doe v. St. Joseph's Hosp. of Fort Wayne, 788 F.2d 411, 414 (7th Cir. 1986). In addition, this court will view the allegations in a light most favorable to the non-moving party. Car Carriers, Inc. v. Ford Motor Co., 745 F.2d 1101, 1106 (7th Cir. 1984), cert. denied, 470 U.S. 1054, 84 L. Ed. 2d 821, 105 S. Ct. 1758 (1985); Wolfolk v. Rivera, 729 F.2d 1114, 1116 (7th Cir. 1984).
The gist of Bootheel's motion to dismiss is that Interstate cannot recover against it because the release Plaintiff executed on September 25, 1989 does not expressly reserve claims for contribution or indemnity. Bootheel also argues that Transport has no standing in this third-party action, because Transport was not a party to the Lease.
A basic flaw in Bootheel's argument is, as Interstate observes, that Plaintiff, and not Interstate or Transport, executed the release in question. The release states, in relevant part:
That the Undersigned, LESTER REID,. . . does hereby for myself and for my heirs, executors, administrators, successors and assigns release, acquit and forever discharge RONALD MAYS, Individually, RONALD J. MAYS d/b/a BOOTHELLE TRANSPORTATION, AND INTERSTATE EXPRESS, INC., a corporation and his, her, their, or its agents, servants, successors, heirs, executors, administrators, officers, directors and employees and insurers, and all other persons . . . from any and all claims . . . .