Searching over 5,500,000 cases.

Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

James River Insurance Company v. Keyes2safety

July 24, 2012


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


This is an action filed by James River Insurance Company seeking a declaration that it has no duty to defend or indemnify Keyes2Safety, Inc. ("K2S") or Daniel Mustapha with respect to a lawsuit filed by Larry Gipson in the Circuit Court of Cook County. The parties have cross-moved for summary judgment. For the reasons stated below, K2S's and Mustapha's motion for summary judgment is denied and James River's motion is granted.

I. Facts


The facts are generally undisputed. James River is an insurance company domiciled in Ohio and with its principal place of business in Virginia. (Pls. Local Rule 56.1(b)(3) Resp., Dkt. #32, ¶ 1) K2S is a Michigan corporation with its principal place of business in Michigan. (Id. ¶ 2.) Daniel Mustapha is a citizen of Wisconsin. (Id. ¶ 3.) Subject matter jurisdiction exists for this diversity action under 28 U.S.C. § 1332(a)(1) and venue is proper in the Northern District of Illinois because a substantial portion of the events upon which the dispute is based occurred in this district. (Id. ¶¶ 4-5.)

The underlying action was filed in the Circuit Court of Cook County by Larry Gipson against The McClier Corporation, K2S and Daniel Mustapha alleging that Gipson was injured on the job when installing drywall at a construction site at Kennedy King College. (Id. ¶¶ 9, 11.) As is relevant here, Gipson's allegations state that McClier, the general contractor, entered into a contract with DMB Services/Cotton JV, Gipson's employer, for drywall work at the Kennedy King construction site. (Id. ¶¶ 10, 32, 36.) On February 21, 2007, Gipson was engaged in drywall installation at the Kennedy King College construction project when he fell from purportedly defective scaffolding and was injured. (Id. ¶ 14.)

Several months prior to Gipson's accident, McClier had entered into a contract with K2S to provide site safety at the Kennedy King construction site. (Id. ¶ 34.) K2S's responsibilities included, among other things, providing 8-hour safety service to observe compliance with safety requirements at the construction site, furnishing daily reports of the safety condition of the site and ensuring compliance with all federal, state and local safety requirements. (Id. ¶ 35.) K2S hired Mustapha to work at the Kennedy King construction site. (Id. ¶ 37.) The underlying action alleges that K2S and Mustapha, among others, were negligent in various ways causing Gipson's injuries (Id. ¶¶ 15-16.)

Insurance Policy

James River issued commercial general liability insurance policy number 00012730-1 to K2S effective November 3, 2006, to November 3, 2007. (Id. ¶17.) The policy includes coverage for "bodily injury", "property damage", and "personal and advertising injury." (Id. ¶ 19.) Among others, the policy contains an exclusion titled "Injury to Independent Contractors and Subcontractors-Exclusion," which states that "[t]his insurance does not apply to 'bodily injury', 'personal and advertising injury' or 'property damage' sustained by any independent contractor/subcontractor, or any employee, "leased worker", "temporary worker" or volunteer to help of same." (Id. ¶ 24.)

II. Summary Judgment Standard

Summary judgment is proper "if the movant shows that there is no genuine dispute as to any material fact and the movant is entitled to judgment as a matter of law." Fed R. Civ. P. 56(a); see Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 322 (1986). Thus, in order to withstand a motion for summary judgment, the nonmoving party must show that a dispute about a genuine issue of material fact exists. See Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 248 (1986). The nonmoving party may not merely rest upon the allegations or details in his pleading, but instead, must set forth specific facts showing there is a genuine issue for trial. See Celotex, 477 U.S. at 322; Anderson, 477 U.S. at 248. 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, 477 U.S at 248. In Illinois, the interpretation of an insurance policy is a question of law that is appropriately resolved by summary judgment. River v. Commercial Life Ins. Co., 160 F.3d 1164, 1169 (7th Cir. 1998).

III. Analysis

A. Choice of Law

The parties dispute which state's law applies. James River contends that Illinois law applies while K2S and Mustapha assert that Michigan law applies. According to the Seventh Circuit, "before entangling itself in messy issues of conflict of laws a court ought to satisfy itself that there actually is a difference between the relevant laws of the different states." Barron v. Ford Motor Co., 965 F.2d 195, 197 (7th Cir. 1992). Similarly, the Illinois Supreme Court has stressed that "[a] choice of law determination is required only when a difference in law will make a difference in the outcome." Townsend v. Sears Roebuck & Co., 879 N.E.2d 893, 898 (Ill. 2007). "Where there is no disagreement among the contact states, the law of ...

Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.