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Atlantic Casualty Insurance Company v. Alanis Development Corp

January 25, 2011

ATLANTIC CASUALTY INSURANCE COMPANY, PLAINTIFF,
v.
ALANIS DEVELOPMENT CORP.,
ULISES ALANIS AND CARLOS HERNANDEZ, DEFENDANTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Judge Ronald A. Guzman

MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

This is a declaratory judgment action involving whether Alanis Development Corporation and Ulises Alanis's (collectively "Alanis") insurance policy provides coverage for a personal injury lawsuit filed against them in state court. Before the Court are the cross motions for summary judgment of plaintiff Atlantic Casualty Insurance Company ("Atlantic Casualty") and defendants Alanis and Carlos Hernandez. For the following reasons, the Court grants plaintiff's motion for summary judgment and denies defendants' cross motion.

Facts

A. The Lawsuit

Hernandez owns a building located at 1534 Pulaski Road in Chicago, Illinois.

(Pl.'s LR 56.1(a)(3) ¶¶ 1-2.) Prior to May 13, 2009, Hernandez entered into an agreement with Alanis to make renovations to the building. (Id. ¶ 2.) Prior to the renovation, Alanis purchased liability insurance from Atlantic Casualty. (Id. ¶ 3.) The policy remained in effect during the relevant time period. (Id.)

On May 13, 2009, while visiting his building, Hernandez was injured when he fell through the first floor and into the basement. (Id. ¶ 2.) Subsequently, Hernandez brought a personal injury lawsuit against Alanis.*fn1 (Id. ¶ 1.) The complaint alleged that Hernandez's injuries occurred because Alanis negligently removed part of the floor in the building without posting any signs, barricades or other warnings to alert persons of the danger created by the missing floor. (Id. ¶ 2.) On October 21, 2009 Atlantic Casualty filed this suit seeking a declaratory judgment that Alanis' insurance policy did not cover the allegations in Hernandez's lawsuit. Atlantic Casualty claimed it had no duty to defend or indemnify Alanis in connection with the lawsuit.

B. The Insurance Policy

Atlantic Casualty issued a liability insurance policy to Alanis Development

Corporation effective from March 5, 2009 to March 5, 2010. (Id. ¶ 3.) The policy is subject to certain exclusions, including: "The insurance does not apply to: 'bodily injury' to any 'contractor' for which any insured may become liable in any capacity." (Id. ¶ 5.) The exclusion defines "contractor" to include "any independent contractor or subcontractor of any insured, any general contractor, any developer, any property owner, . . . and any and all persons working for and or providing services and or materials of any kind for these persons or entitles [sic] mentioned herein." (Id.) The exclusion also "applies to any obligation of any insured to indemnify or contribute with another because of damages arising out of 'bodily injury' to which this exclusion applies, including any obligation assumed by an insured under any contract." (Id.) The policy also contains another exclusion, which provides: "Where there is no coverage under this policy, there is no duty to defend any insured." (Id. ¶ 6.)

Discussion

A. Legal Standard

Summary judgment is appropriate if there is no genuine issue of material fact and the moving party is entitled to judgment as a matter of law. Fed. R. Civ. P. 56(a). The movant bears the burden of showing the absence of a genuine issue of material fact. Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 322-23 (1986). If the movant meets this burden, the non-movant cannot rest on conclusory pleadings but "must present sufficient evidence to show the existence of each element of its case on which it will bear the burden at trial." Matsushita Elec. Indus. Co. v. Zenith Radio Corp., 475 U.S. 574, 585-86 (1986). To succeed on a summary judgment motion, the evidence must be such "that [no] reasonable jury could return a verdict for the nonmoving party." Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 248 (1986). In considering the motion, the court must view all evidence in the light most favorable to ...


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