The opinion of the court was delivered by: MICHAEL McCUSKEY, District Judge
This case is before the court for ruling on cross motions for
judgment on the pleadings. Following this court's careful review
of the documents submitted by the parties and the arguments of
the parties, this court rules as follows: (1) Defendant Timothy
Allen's Motion for Judgment on the Pleadings (#5) is DENIED; and
(2) Plaintiff's Cross-Motion for Judgment on the Pleadings (#9)
On October 22, 2004, Plaint iff, Cincinnati Insurance Company,
filed its Complaint for Declaratory Judgment (#1) against
Defendants, Timothy Allen and Sean Blankenship. This court's
jurisdiction is based upon diversity of citizenship. Plaintiff
alleged that it is an Ohio corporation with its principal place
of business in Ohio. Plaintiff also alleged that it issued a
Homeowner's Policy and Umbrella Policy to Defendant Allen, a
citizen of Illinois. Plaintiff further alleged that Defendant
Blankenship, also a citizen of Illinois, filed a Complaint
against Allen in the circuit court of Macon County. Plaintiff sought a declaration from this court
that it has no coverage obligation under the policies it issued
to Allen, including to defend, indemnify, or reimburse Allen,
with respect to the underlying lawsuit filed by Blankenship.
Plaintiff at tached a copy of the underlying Complaint at Law
for Battery filed by Blankenship. In his Complaint, Blankenship
alleged that, on November 15, 2003, he was in Oreana, Illinois,
and was sitting in his vehicle in the driveway of a neighbor of
Allen, speaking with Allen's wife, Kathy Allen, and other
individuals. Blankenship further alleged that Allen approached
him and, through the open door of the vehicle, reached in and
slapped Blankenship. Blankenship also alleged that Allen then
pushed his wife back towards their residence. Blankenship alleged
that he exited his vehicle and Allen punched and struck him,
causing him to fall and strike his head on the driveway,
resulting in a significant brain injury. Blankenship alleged that
Allen's conduct was a direct and proximate cause of his injury
and constituted a willful and wanton battery upon him.
Blankenship alleged that he has been permanently injured and
disabled and has suffered significant damages, including lost
earnings. In his Complaint, Blankenship sought compensatory and
exemplary damages from Allen.
Plaintiff also attached a copy of the Homeowner's Policy and
Umbrella Policy it had issued to Allen. Both policies provided
that Plaintiff would pay damages for "bodily injury" arising out
of an "occurrence." The policies also both defined an
"occurrence" as an "accident" which resulted in bodily injury.
The Homeowner's policy specifically excluded coverage for "bodily
injury" which "may reasonably be expected to result from the intentional or
criminal acts of one or more `insureds' or which is in fact
expected or intended by one or more `insureds', even if the
injury or damage is of a different degree or type than actually
expected or intended." The policy stated that this exclusion did
not apply when the "bodily injury" resulted from "the use of
reasonable force to protect persons or property." The Umbrella
Policy provided coverage for damages in excess of the coverage
provided by the underlying Homeowner's Policy or for damages
excluded or not covered by the Homeowner's Policy. However, the
Umbrella Policy included substantially identical provisions
excluding expected or intended acts unless resulting from the use
of reasonable force to protect persons or property.
On November 5, 2004, Allen filed his Answer to Complaint for
Declaratory Judgment (#4). Allen attached a copy of his Answer to
Blankenship's Complaint against him in which he alleged, as an
affirmative defense, that he struck Blankenship "only as a matter
of self-defense after first being struck in the face by Sean
Blankenship." In addition, on November 5, 2004, Allen filed a
Motion for Judgment on the Pleadings (#5). Allen argued that,
under the terms of his policy, Plaintiff has a duty to defend him
in the underlying lawsuit filed by Blankenship.
On November 19, 2004, Plaintiff filed a Cross-Motion for
Judgment on the Pleadings (#9) and a Memorandum (#10) in support
of its Motion and in opposition to Allen's Motion. Plaintiff
argued that Allen's Motion should be denied and its Cross-Motion
should be granted because the allegations in the underlying
Blankenship case do not fall within the coverage of the policies
because they do not allege an "occurrence" and because they are excluded
by the intentional acts exclusion of the policies.
Allen filed his Response to Plaintiff's Cross-Motion (#13) on
December 1, 2004. Allen stated that the pleadings in the
underlying case have evoked the "self-defense" exception to the
intentional acts exclusion. Allen therefore contended that
Plaintiff has the duty to defend him in the Blankenship lawsuit.
Defendant Blankenship has not filed an answer in this case or any
response to Plaintiff's Cross-Motion for Judgment on the
On December 7, 2004, Plaintiff filed a Motion for Leave to File
Reply in Opposition to Allen's Response to [Plaintiff's]
Cross-Motion for Judgment on the Pleadings (#14). This court
allowed the Motion and Plaintiff's Reply (#15) was filed in this
I. STANDARD FOR JUDGMENT ON THE PLEADINGS
After the close of pleadings, a party may file a motion for
judgment on the pleadings under Rule 12(c) of the Federal Rules
of Civil Procedure to attempt to dispose of the case on the basis
of the underlying substantive merits. See Alexander v. City of
Chicago, 994 F.2d 333, 336 (7th Cir. 1993); Crowley v.
McKinney, 2002 WL 31101287, at *1 (N.D. Ill. 2002). The
appropriate standard for such a motion is that applicable to
summary judgment, except that the court may consider only the
contents of the pleadings. See Alexander, 994 F.2d at 336;
Ohio Cas. Ins. Co. v. PetsMart, Inc., 2003 WL 22995160, at *2
(N.D. Ill. 2003). Judgment on the pleadings is proper where the
pleadings raise only questions of law and no questions of material fact.
Utica Mut. Ins. Co. v. David Agency Ins., Inc., 327 F. Supp. 2d 922,
926 (N.D. Ill. 2004). A Rule 12(c) motion should not
be granted unless no genuine issues of material fact remain to be
resolved and unless the moving party is entitled to judgment as a
matter of law. See Alexander, 994 F.2d at 336; Memisovski v.
Maram, 2004 WL 1878332, at *2 n. 3 (N.D. Ill. 2004); Fid. &
Guar. Life Ins. Co. v. Payne, 2003 WL 22143249, at *2 (N.D. Ill.
2003). In ...