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Employers Preferred Insurance Co. v. C&K Hotel Group, LLC

United States District Court, C.D. Illinois, Peoria Division

September 14, 2017

EMPLOYERS PREFERRED INSURANCE COMPANY, Plaintiff,
v.
C&K HOTEL GROUP, LLC and CORINE WATTS, Defendants.

          ORDER & OPINION

          JOE BILLY McDADE, United States Senior District Judge

         This matter is before the Court upon motions for summary judgment filed by the Plaintiff, Employers Preferred Insurance Company (hereinafter “EPIC”), and one of the Defendants, C&K Hotel Group, LLC (hereinafter “CK”). The motions have been fully briefed and are ready for decision. Defendant Corine Watts has not participated in these proceedings. For the reasons stated below, EPIC's Motion for Summary Judgment (Doc. 45) is GRANTED and CK's Motion for Summary Judgment (Doc. 46) is DENIED.

         LEGAL STANDARDS

         Summary judgment shall be granted where “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 ruling on a motion for summary judgment, the Court must view the evidence in the light most favorable to the non-moving party. SMS Demag Aktiengesellschaft v. Material Scis. Corp., 565 F.3d 365, 368 (7th Cir. 2009). All inferences drawn from the facts must be construed in favor of the non-movant. Moore v. Vital Prods., Inc., 641 F.3d 253, 256 (7th Cir. 2011).

         Cross-motions for summary judgment are considered separately, and each party requesting summary judgment must satisfy the above standard before judgment will be granted in its favor. See Tegtmeier v. Midwest Operating Eng'rs Pension Trust Fund, 390 F.3d 1040, 1045 (7th Cir. 2004); Santaella v. Metro. Life Ins. Co., 123 F.3d 456, 461 (7th Cir. 1997). Thus, the facts are construed in favor of the non-moving party, which differs depending on which motion is under consideration. Tegtmeier, 390 F.3d at 1045.

         To survive summary judgment, the “nonmovant must show through specific evidence that a triable issue of fact remains on issues on which [it] bears the burden of proof at trial.” Warsco v. Preferred Technical Grp., 258 F.3d 557, 563 (7th Cir. 2001) (citing Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 324 (1986)). If the evidence on record could not lead a reasonable jury to find for the non-movant, then no genuine issue of material fact exists and the movant is entitled to judgment as a matter of law. See McClendon v. Ind. Sugars, Inc., 108 F.3d 789, 796 (7th Cir. 1997). At the summary judgment stage, the court may not resolve issues of fact; disputed material facts must be left for resolution at trial. Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 249-50 (1986). “Only disputes over facts that might affect the outcome of the suit under the governing law will properly preclude the entry of summary judgment.” Id. at 248.

         Contrary to the understanding of many pro se litigants and an alarming number of attorneys who litigate matters before this Court, merely stating that a fact is disputed is not enough to establish that such a fact is genuinely disputed. “A party asserting that a fact cannot be or is genuinely disputed must support the assertion by (A) citing to particular parts of materials in the record, including depositions, documents, electronically stored information, affidavits or declarations, stipulations (including those made for purposes of the motion only), admissions, interrogatory answers, or other materials; or (B) showing that the materials cited do not establish the absence or presence of a genuine dispute, or that an adverse party cannot produce admissible evidence to support the fact.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(c). Moreover, Central District of Illinois Local Rule 7.1(D)(1)(b) and (2)(b)(2) require citations to relevant documentary evidence. Courts are well within their discretion to treat unsupported facts as undisputed for purposes of deciding the summary judgment motion. Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(e).

         FACTS[1]

         EPIC is an insurance company that extended an original workers' compensation insurance policy and renewal policy to CK in conjunction with a hotel that CK owns and operates in Bloomington, Illinois doing business as the Hawthorn Suites and Conference Center. In August of 2014, Corine Watts filed an Application for Adjustment of Claim with the Illinois Workers' Compensation Commission, alleging that she was injured on July 11, 2014 while putting away a sofa bed as part of her duties for her employer, CK, in its hotel.

         EPIC provided workers' compensation insurance to CK under an insurance policy numbered EIG 1594376-00, which was effective from November 16, 2012 to November 16, 2013 (hereinafter the “00 policy”) and was conditioned upon payment of specific premiums payable in future installments subject to annual audit for retrospective premiums. The 00 policy contained a provision stating that it would automatically be extended for one year unless EPIC gave CK sixty days' notice that it was not renewing the policy. The 00 policy was so extended and a renewal policy was issued by EPIC to CK on November 16, 2013, and given the number EIG 1594376-01 (hereinafter the “01 policy”), which was also conditioned upon payment of specific premiums payable in future installments subject to annual audit for retrospective premiums. Both the 00 and the 01 policies (Doc. 4-1) contain the following identical provisions:

“PART ONE WORKERS COMPENSATION INSURANCE
A. How This Insurance Applies
This workers compensation insurance applies to bodily injury by accident or bodily injury by disease. Bodily injury includes resulting death.
1. Bodily injury by accident must occur during the policy period.
* * * *
C. We Will Defend
We have the right and duty to defend at our expense any claim, proceeding or suit against you for benefits payable by this insurance. We have the right to investigate and settle these claims, proceedings or suits. We have no duty to defend a claim, proceeding or suit that is not covered by this insurance.
* * * *
PART FIVE - PREMIUM
A. Our Manuals
All premium for this policy will be determined by our manuals of rules, rates, rating plans and classifications. We may change our manuals and apply the changes to this policy if authorized by law or a governmental agency regulating this insurance.
B. Classifications
Item 4 of the Information Page shows the rate and premium basis for certain business or work classifications. These classifications were assigned based on an estimate of the exposure you would have during the policy period. If your actual exposures are not properly described by those classifications, we will assign proper classifications, rates and premium basis by endorsement to this policy.
C. Remuneration
Premium for each work classification is determined by multiplying a rate times a premium basis. Remuneration is the most common premium basis. This premium basis includes payroll and all other remuneration paid or payable during the policy period for the services of:
1. all your officers and employees engaged in work covered by this policy; and 2. all other persons engaged in work that could make us liable under Part One (Workers Compensation Insurance) of this policy. If you do not have payroll records for these persons, the contract price for their services and materials may be used as the premium basis. This paragraph
2 will not apply if you give us proof that the employers of these persons lawfully secured their workers compensation obligations.
* * *
E. Final Premium
The premium shown on the Information Page, schedules, and endorsements is an estimate. The final premium will be determined after this policy ends by using the actual, not the estimated, premium basis and the proper classifications and rates that lawfully apply to the business and work covered by this policy. If the final premium is more than the premium you paid to us, you must pay us the balance. If it is less, we will refund the balance to you. The final premium will not be less than the highest minimum premium for the classifications covered by this policy. If this policy is canceled, final premium will be determined in the following way unless our manuals provide otherwise: 1. If we cancel, final premium will be calculated pro rata based on the time this policy was in force. Final premium will not be less than the pro rata share of the minimum premium. 2. If you cancel, final premium will be more than pro rata; it will be based on the time this policy was in force, and increased by our short-rate cancelation table and procedure. Final premium will not be less than the minimum premium.
F. Records
You will keep records of information needed to compute premium. You will provide us with copies of those records when we ask for them.
* * *
PREMIUM DUE DATE ENDORSEMENT
This endorsement is used to amend: Section D. of Part Five of the policy is replaced by this provision.
PART FIVE
PREMIUM
D. Premium is amended to read:
You will pay all premium when due. You will pay the premium even if part or all of a workers compensation law is not valid.
The due date for audit and retrospective premiums is the date of the billing.
* * *
ILLINOIS AMENDATORY ENDORSEMENT
This endorsement applies only to the insurance provided by the policy because Illinois is shown in Item 3.A. of ...

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