Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
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.

United States Specialty Ins. Co. v. Rhoads

United States District Court, Seventh Circuit

June 4, 2013

U.S. SPECIALTY INSURANCE COMPANY, a Texas corporation, Plaintiff,
v.
KENT A. RHOADS, JASON R. BALL, and COURTNEY UTTERBACK, Defendants.

OPINION

MICHAEL P. McCUSKEY, District Judge.

This case is before the court for ruling on the Motion for Summary Judgment (#34) filed by Plaintiff, U.S. Specialty Insurance Company (USSIC), the Motion for Partial Summary Judgment (#41) filed by Defendant, Courtney Utterback, and the Motion for Partial Summary Judgment (#46) filed by Defendant, Kent A. Rhoads. This court has carefully reviewed the arguments of the parties and the documents provided by the parties. Following this careful review, USSIC's Motion for Summary Judgment (#34) is GRANTED and Defendants' Motions for Partial Summary Judgment (#41, #46) are DENIED.

BACKGROUND

On May 19, 2011, Courtney Utterback filed a Complaint in Case No. 11-CV-2131 against Kent A. Rhoads, Jason R. Ball and Terry Weger[1] pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Utterback stated that she was incarcerated at the Edgar County jail from January 7, 2010 through July 4, 2010. Utterback alleged that Rhoads and Ball were employees of the Edgar County Sheriff working in the Edgar County jail at the time she was incarcerated there. Utterback alleged that Ball took nude photographs of her for his own benefit and without penological purpose. Utterback also alleged that Ball had intimate sexual relations with her without her consent. In addition, Utterback alleged that Rhoads had intimate sexual relations with her without her consent and that Ball and Rhoads provided her with unlawful drugs and alcohol. Utterback alleged that Ball and Rhoads violated her rights under the Eighth Amendment to the Constitution to be free from cruel and unusual treatment. Utterback alleged that, as a result of the conduct of Ball and Rhoads, she suffered emotional distress, physical injury, embarrassment and the loss of enjoyment of life.

On June 6, 2012, Ball was convicted of unlawfully engaging in sexual conduct with a person (Utterback) who was in the custody of a penal institution in violation of 720 Ill. Comp. Stat. 5/11-9.2(a)(1). On June 6, 2012, Rhoads was also convicted of unlawfully engaging in sexual conduct with a person (Utterback) who was in the custody of a penal institution in violation of 720 Ill. Comp. Stat. 5/11-9.2(a)(1).

PROCEDURAL HISTORY

On September 13, 2011, USSIC filed its Complaint for Declaratory Relief (#1) in this case, naming Ball, Rhoads and Utterback as Defendants.[2] USSIC stated that this court has jurisdiction over the case based upon diversity. See 28 U.S.C. § 1332(a)(1). USSIC stated that it issued Policy No. PKG80310141 to Edgar County for the period July 1, 2009 to July 1, 2010 (Policy). The Policy is a multi-form policy that provides coverage to Edgar County and its employees. USSIC attached a copy of the Policy to the Complaint. In Count I, USSIC sought a declaration that it has no duty to defend or indemnify Ball and Rhoads under the General Liability Coverage Part of the Policy. In Count II, USSIC sought a declaration that it has no duty to defend or indemnify Ball and Rhoads under the Law Enforcement Coverage Part of the Policy. In Count III, USSIC sought a declaration that it has no duty to defend or indemnify Ball and Rhoads under the Public Officials Liability Coverage Part of the Policy. The case was stayed pending the outcome of the criminal charges in Edgar County. After the criminal proceedings were terminated, Rhoads' attorney was allowed to withdraw. Both Rhoads and Ball are now pro se in this case.

On November 1, 2012, USSIC filed a Motion for Summary Judgment (#34), a Memorandum in Support (#35), with attached exhibits, a Statement of Facts (#36), with attached exhibits, and two Affidavits in Support of Motion for Summary Judgment (#37, #38). USSIC argued that, based upon the undisputed facts and the Policy language, it has no duty to defend or indemnify Ball and Rhoads because the allegations of the underlying Utterback Complaint do not come within the scope of coverage provided by the Policy issued by USSIC. On November 1, 2012, Utterback filed a Motion for Partial Summary Judgment (#41) and a Memorandum in Support (#42). Utterback said that she agreed with USSIC that summary judgment was appropriate in USSIC's favor on Count I of the Complaint regarding the General Liability Coverage Part of the Policy. Utterback argued, however, that she was entitled to summary judgment on Counts II and III of the Complaint. She argued that USSIC has an obligation to defend Ball and Rhoads under the Law Enforcement Coverage Part of the Policy and the Public Officials Liability Coverage Part of the Policy. On November 27, 2012, Rhoads filed a pro se Motion for Partial Summary Judgment (#46) and Memorandum in Support (#47). Rhoads' Motion was essentially identical to Utterback's Motion for Partial Summary Judgment. On November 26, 2012, Ball filed a pro se "Answer" (#45). Ball stated that he could not afford representation and did not know how to respond.

On November 29, 2012, Utterback filed her Memorandum in Opposition to USSIC's Motion for Summary Judgment (#49) and USSIC filed its Response to Utterback's Motion for Partial Summary Judgment (#50). On December 14, 2012, USSIC filed its Response to Rhoads' Motion for Partial Summary Judgment (#54). Also on December 14, 2012, USSIC filed its Reply Memorandum in Support of its Motion for Summary Judgment (#53) and Utterback filed her Reply Memorandum in Support of her Motion for Partial Summary Judgment (#52). In her Reply, Utterback conceded that USSIC was entitled to summary judgment regarding the Public Officials Liability Coverage Part of the Policy as "the public officials liability provisions do not apply to law enforcement personnel."

ANALYSIS

I. SUMMARY JUDGMENT STANDARD

Summary judgment is proper when "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). In this case, three of the parties have moved for summary judgment and have asserted there is no genuine dispute as to any material fact. The parties have agreed that Illinois law applies to the issues in this case. Under Illinois law, the interpretation of an insurance policy is a question of law which is properly decided by way of summary judgment. BASF AG v. Great Am. Assur. Co. , 522 F.3d 813, 818-19 (7th Cir. 2008); see also Ace Am. Ins. Co. v. RC2 Corp., Inc. , 600 F.3d 763, 767 (7th Cir. 2010). "Contract interpretation lends itself to resolution by summary judgment because the determination of whether a contract is ambiguous is a matter of law.'" Central States, S.E. & S.W. Areas Pension Fund v. Waste Mgmt. of Mich., Inc. , 674 F.3d 630, 634-35 (7th Cir. 2012), quoting Barnett v. Ameren Corp. , 436 F.3d 830, 833 (7th Cir. 2006). When cross motions for summary judgment have been filed, this court must review the record construing all inferences in favor of the party against whom the motion under consideration is made. See BASF AG , 522 F.3d at 818.

II. DUTY TO DEFEND

An insurer's duty to defend is broader than its duty to indemnify. Nat'l Cas. Co. v. McFatridge , 604 F.3d 335, 338 (7th Cir. 2010). Therefore, "[i]f an insurer has no duty to defend, it has no duty to indemnify." McFatridge , 604 F.3d at 338. This court must determine whether USSIC has a duty to defend "by examining the underlying complaint and the language of the insurance policy." McFatridge , 604 F.3d at 338. Any doubts as to whether particular claims fall within the policy must be resolved in favor of coverage. McFatridge , 604 F.3d at 338. "So if the complaint asserts facts within or potentially within policy coverage, an insurer is obligated to defend its insured.'" McFatridge , 604 F.3d at 338, quoting Gen. Agents Ins. Co. of Am., Inc. v. Midwest Sporting Goods Co. , 828 N.E.2d 1092, 1098 (Ill. 2005). "On the other hand, an insurer may refuse to defend an action in which, from the face of the complaint, the allegations are ...


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.