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AMCO Insurance Co. v. Rohr

July 8, 2009

AMCO INSURANCE COMPANY, PLAINTIFF,
v.
ROBERT ROHR, ERICKA SHAW, AND ANDREW MORRIS, DEFENDANTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: G. Patrick Murphy United States District Judge

MEMORANDUM AND ORDER

MURPHY, District Judge

This matter came before the Court on June 22, 2009, for hearing on Plaintiff's motion for summary judgment. For the following reasons and for those set forth on the record during the hearing, the motion is granted.

BACKGROUND

Plaintiff Amco Insurance Company insured Defendant Robert Rohr's All Terrain Vehicle (ATV). Defendant Erica Shaw crashed the ATV into a tree, injuring Defendant Andrew Morris. Morris has filed a separate lawsuit against Rohr and Shaw (the Morris lawsuit). Amco has refused to indemnify Rohr and Shaw against the Morris lawsuit, claiming that the accident was not covered by Rohr's policy because it did not take place on Rohr's land. Both Rohr and Shaw admit that the accident took place on Mike and Sandy Camden's property. Amco filed this action under the Court's diversity jurisdiction, seeking declaratory judgment that no coverage exists under its policy and that Amco has no duty to defend or indemnify Rohr and Shaw from the Morris lawsuit. (See Doc. 19.) Rohr and Shaw have not responded or otherwise appeared and have been defaulted; a default judgment will be entered against them shortly. Morris opposes Amco's motion for summary judgment.

DISCUSSION

Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 56(c) holds that if the pleadings, discovery, and disclosure materials disclose no genuine issue of material fact, the movant may be entitled to judgment as a matter of law.

Summary judgment is proper when the pleadings, depositions, answers to interrogatories, and admissions on file, together with the affidavits, if any, show that there is no genuine issue as to any material fact and that the moving party is entitled to a judgment as a matter of law. In determining whether a genuine issue of material fact exists, [the court] must view the record in a light most favorable to the nonmoving party. Because the primary purpose of summary judgment is to isolate and dispose of factually unsupported claims, the non-movant may not rest on the pleadings but must respond, with affidavits or otherwise, setting forth specific facts showing that there is a genuine issue for trial. The evidence must create more than some metaphysical doubt as to the material facts. A mere scintilla of evidence in support of the non-movant's position is insufficient; a party will be successful in opposing summary judgment only when it presents definite, competent evidence to rebut the motion.

Albiero v. City of Kankakee, 246 F.3d 927, 931-32 (7th Cir. 2001) (internal citations and quotations omitted).

In interpreting an insurance policy, the Court is mindful that the general rules governing contracts govern the interpretation of the policy. Hobbs v. Hartford Ins. Co. of the Midwest, 823 N.E.2d 561, 564 (Ill. 2005). The Court's goal here is to give effect to the intention of the parties as expressed in the policy language. Id., citing Menke v. County Mutual Insurance Co., 401 N.E.2d 539, 541 (Ill. 1980); see also Gillen v. State Farm Mut. Auto. Ins. Co., 830 N.E.2d 575, 582 (Ill. 2005). If the policy language is unambiguous, the policy will be applied as written, unless it contravenes public policy. Hobbs, 823 N.E.2d at 564. The Court will not strain to find an ambiguity where none exists. Id.

Amco moves for summary judgment on the grounds that the policy contains express, unambiguous language excluding coverage and that the issue may be determined as a matter of law. The Amco policy provides:

[T]here is still no coverage for "motor vehicle liability" unless the motor vehicle is (d) designed for recreational use off public roads and

1. Not owned by the "insured"; or

2. Owned by an "insured" provided the "occurrence" takes place on an "insured location" as defined in ...


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