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.

Liberty Surplus Insurance Corp. v. City of Vandalia

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

June 7, 2018

LIBERTY SURPLUS INSURANCE CORPORATION, Plaintiff,
v.
THE CITY OF VANDALIA, ILLINOIS; VANDALIA RAILROAD COMPANY; and SCOTT WISNASKY, as next of kin and administrator of the estates of DR.W. deceased and A.W. deceased, as administrator of the estate of ALYSSA SEWELL deceased, as father and next of friend of DY. W. who is a minor and as father and next friend of DA. W. who is a minor, Defendants.

          MEMORANDUM OPINION & ORDER

          JOE BILLY MCDADE UNITED STATES SENIOR DISTRICT JUDGE.

         Before the Court is Plaintiff Liberty Surplus Insurance Corporation's Motion for Summary Judgment (Doc. 14) and Defendant City of Vandalia's Rule 56(d) Motion to Take Discovery to Further Respond to Plaintiff Liberty Surplus Insurance Corporation's Motion for Summary Judgment (Doc. 17). The motions have been fully briefed and await disposition. For the reasons stated below, Liberty Surplus Insurance Corporation's Motion for Summary Judgment (Doc. 14) is GRANTED and City of Vandalia's Rule 56(d) Motion to Take Discovery to Further Respond to Plaintiff Liberty Surplus Insurance Corporation's Motion for Summary Judgment (Doc. 17) is DENIED.

         LEGAL STANDARDS

         “The court shall grant summary judgment 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). A genuine issue of material fact exists if “the evidence is such that a reasonable jury could return a verdict for the nonmoving party.” Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 248 (1986). The movant may demonstrate the absence of a genuine dispute of material fact by citing to admissible evidence, or by showing that the non-movant cannot produce admissible evidence to support a genuine dispute of material fact. Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(c)(1). Upon such a showing by the movant, the non-movant may not simply rest on his or her allegations in the complaint. “The nonmovant may not rest upon mere allegations in the pleadings or upon conclusory statements in affidavits; it must go beyond the pleadings and support its contentions with proper documentary evidence.” Warsco v. Preferred Technical Grp., 258 F.3d 557, 563 (7th Cir. 2001) (internal quotations and citation omitted); Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(c)(1). Typically, all inferences drawn from the facts must be construed in favor of the non-movant, but the court is not required to draw every conceivable inference from the record. Smith v. Hope School, 560 F.3d 694, 699 (7th Cir. 2009). At the summary judgment stage, however, the court may not resolve issues of fact; disputed material facts must be left for resolution at trial. Anderson, 477 U.S. at 249-50.

         Rule 56(b) provides that in general, a party may file a motion for summary judgment at any time after the case is initiated until thirty days after the close of discovery. Thus, discovery need not be completed before a party can move for summary judgment. Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(b); Am. Nurses' Ass'n v. State of Ill., 783 F.2d 716, 729 (7th Cir. 1986). The drafters of the Federal Rules foresaw instances where parties would move for summary judgment prematurely and to safeguard against such premature motions they included sub-paragraph (d). King v. Cooke, 26 F.3d 720, 726 (7th Cir. 1994) (dealing with then codified Rule 56 (f)). The provisions of Rule 56(f) were moved to subsection (d) in 2010 “without any substantial changes.” 10B Charles Alan Wright & Arthur R. Miller, Federal Practice and Procedure § 2740 (3d ed. 2014). This provision allows a non-movant to demonstrate to the Court by giving specific reasons in an affidavit or declaration that the non-movant cannot present facts necessary to oppose the motion. Deere & Co. v. Ohio Gear, 462 F.3d 701, 706 (7th Cir. 2006). Upon such a showing, the Court is empowered to defer ruling on the summary judgment motion or deny it; allow a continuance so the nonmovant can obtain the necessary materials to oppose the summary judgment motion; or issue any order the court deems appropriate. Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(d).

         BACKGROUND

         Undisputed Facts

         Liberty Surplus Insurance Corporation (hereinafter “Liberty”) issued to Pioneer Railcorp Railroad (hereinafter “Pioneer”) Liability Insurance Policy No. RRHV372358-2, effective July 7, 2014 to August 20, 2015 (hereinafter the “Policy”). Vandalia Railroad Company (hereinafter “VRRC”) is a Named Insured under the Policy. The Policy affords coverage under its various insuring agreements for persons or organizations who qualify as “insureds.” The Policy states that “[the] word ‘Insured' means any person or organization qualifying as such under WHO IS AN INSURED (Section IV.).” Under Section IV, Paragraph 5 of the Policy, an insured includes “[a]ny person or organization to whom or to which [VRRC is] obligated by an insured contract to provide insurance of the type afforded by this policy, but only in connection with [VRRC's] business.” Vandalia owns a portion of railway known as the Vandalia Segment. VRRC leases the Vandalia Segment from the City pursuant to a Railway Redevelopment Lease Agreement (the “Lease”), initially effective September 19, 1983. The Lease states that “[VRRC] shall provide public liability and property damage insurance as required by the regulations of the Interstate Commerce Commission [(“ICC”)] or any successor agency to such commission.” Vandalia claims it is an insured under the Policy by way of Section IV, Paragraph 5.

         Facts Not In Dispute But Not Identified As Undisputed By The Parties

         Scott Wisnasky sued Pioneer, Vandalia, VRRC and several others for several tort claims arising out of the deaths and serious bodily harm of several of Mr. Wisnasky's children. The children were passengers in a vehicle that collided with a train. Several defendants to the underlying state lawsuit were nonsuited, yet Vandalia remains. Vandalia tendered the underlying lawsuit to Liberty for defense and indemnity under the Policy. Liberty denies that it owes a duty to defend or indemnify Vandalia for the underlying lawsuit under the Policy.

         Disputed Facts Material to an Issue Before The Court

         Marsh USA Inc. issued several certificates of insurance to Vandalia. These certificates purported to certify that the policies of insurance listed on the certificate, the Policy being one of them, had been issued to the insured named above, VRRC, for the policy period indicated on the certificate. Each certificate carried the following message across the front of it at the top of the certificate:

THIS CERTIFICATE IS ISSUED AS A MATTER OF INFORMATION ONLY AND CONFERS NO RIGHTS UPON THE CERTIFICATE HOLDER. THE CERTIFICATE DOES NOT AFFIRMATIVELY OR NEGATIVELY AMEND, EXTEND OR ALTER THE COVERAGE AFFORDED BY THE POLICIES BELOW. THIS CERTIFICATE OF INSURANCE DOES NOT CONSTITUTE A CONTRACT BETWEEN THE ISSUING INSURER(S), AUTHORIZED REPRESENTATIVE OR PRODUCER, AND THE CERTIFICATE HOLDER.

         However, each certificate also named Vandalia as an additional insured to the ...


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.