United States District Court, S.D. Illinois
MEMORANDUM & ORDER
PHIL GILBERT, DISTRICT JUDGE
matter comes before the Court on two pending motions filed by
defendant A&K Rentals, LLC (“A&K”). The
first is a motion for summary judgment, or in the
alternative, to stay Count III of the amended complaint in
this case. (Doc. 69.) The second is a motion for summary
judgment as to Count II and Count III, or alternatively to
stay Count I, of defendant Burlington Insurance Company's
cross-claim against A&K. (Doc. 71.) For the following
reasons, the Court DENIES both motions.
in 2015, Richard Thessing drove a tractor-trailer to deliver
a building hoist-a large device used for lifting very heavy
loads-to a construction site. (Am. Compl. ¶ 13.) Once
Thessing arrived at the site, workers used a crane truck to
unload the components of the hoist from the tractor-trailer.
(Am. Compl. ¶ 17-19.) Unfortunately, the crane dropped
part of the hoist onto Thessing, killing him. (Am. Compl.
¶ 14.) Later, Thessing's decedent-Robyn Wellen-
brought a wrongful death action in Illinois state court
against five defendants for damages stemming from the
accident. (Am. Compl., Ex. 1.) One of those defendants is
A&K: they owned the tractor-trailer, the crane truck, and
the hoist. (Am. Compl. 15-19.) Another defendant is American
Complete Access Hoist and Platform LLC (“American
Complete”): Thessing worked for them, but it is not
clear at this stage whether Thessing was an employee or an
Court is not faced with the wrongful death action. Rather,
plaintiff Artisan and Truckers Casualty Co.
(“Artisan”)-who insures A&K and American
Complete via a commercial auto policy (the “Artisan
Auto Policy”)-has brought this declaratory judgment
action asking the Court to declare that Artisan does not have
a duty to defend or indemnify defendants A&K and American
Complete in the underlying state action. (Doc. 51.) The
complaint contains several theories, but for the purposes of
this particular motion, only Count III is relevant: it
alleges that the worker's compensation and employer's
liability exclusions in the Artisan Auto Policy precludes
coverage for American Complete and A&K in the underlying
state suit as well as a related claim before the Illinois
Workers' Compensation Commission. Artisan points to
another insurance company-Travelers Property Casualty Company
of America (“Travelers”)-that provides workers
compensation and employer's liability insurance to
American Complete instead.
is also a third insurance company at issue: defendant
Burlington Insurance Company, which has a commercial general
liability policy with American Complete (the
“Burlington General Policy”). Burlington has
filed a cross-claim against A&K (Doc. 60.) alleging that
they have no duty to defend or indemnify them in the
underlying action as well, in a manner similar to
Artisan's amended complaint.
A&K has filed two motions in respect to both
Artisan's amended complaint as well as Burlington's
cross-claim. First, A&K seeks summary judgment or a stay
of Count III of Artisan's amended complaint. Second,
A&K seeks summary judgment as to Count II and Count III,
or alternatively to stay Count I, of defendant Burlington
Insurance Company's cross-claim.
judgment must be granted “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 also Celotex Corp. v.
Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 322 (1986); Spath v. Hayes
Wheels Int'l-Ind., Inc., 211 F.3d 392, 396 (7th Cir.
2000). The Court must construe the evidence in the light most
favorable to the nonmoving party and draw all reasonable
inferences in favor of that party. See Anderson v.
Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 255 (1986);
Chelios v. Heavener, 520 F.3d 678, 685 (7th Cir.
2008); Spath, 211 F.3d at 396.
initial summary judgment burden of production is on the
moving party to show the Court that there is no reason to
have a trial. Celotex, 477 U.S. at 323;
Modrowski v. Pigatto, 712 F.3d 1166, 1168 (7th Cir.
2013). If the moving party bears the burden of persuasion on
an issue at trial, it must “lay out the elements of the
claim, cite the facts which it believes satisfies these
elements, and demonstrate why the record is so one-sided as
to rule out the prospect of a finding in favor of the
non-movant on the claim.” Hotel 71 Mezz Lender LLC
v. National Ret. Fund, 778 F.3d 593, 601 (7th Cir.
2015); accord Felix v. Wisconsin Dep't of
Transp., 828 F.3d 560, 570 (7th Cir. 2016). Where the
moving party fails to meet that strict burden, the Court
cannot enter summary judgment for that party even if the
opposing party fails to present relevant evidence in
response. Cooper v. Lane, 969 F.2d 368, 371 (7th
responding to a motion for summary judgment, the nonmoving
party may not simply rest upon the allegations contained in
the pleadings, but must present specific facts to show that a
genuine issue of material fact exists. Celotex, 477
U.S. at 322-26; Anderson, 477 U.S. at 256-57;
Modrowski, 712 F.3d at 1168. A genuine issue of
material fact is not demonstrated by the mere existence of
“some alleged factual dispute between the parties,
” Anderson, 477 U.S. at 247, or by “some
metaphysical doubt as to the material facts”.
Matsushita Elec. Indus. Co. v. Zenith Radio Corp.,
475 U.S. 574, 586 (1986). Rather, a genuine issue of material
fact only exists if “a fair-minded jury could return a
verdict for the [nonmoving party] on the evidence
presented.” Anderson, 477 U.S. at 252.
The Artisan Auto Policy
advances three arguments in favor of their motion for summary
judgment or to stay Count III of the Artisan Auto Policy: (1)
that the claims are not ripe for adjudication; (2) that the
employer's liability exclusion in the Artisan Auto Policy
does not apply to them; and (3) that the Court must stay this
action because it requires a determination of ...