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Grinnell Mutual Reinsurance Company v. Harker

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

July 17, 2019

GRINNELL MUTUAL REINSURANCE COMPANY, Plaintiff,
v.
WADE HARKER, Defendant, and LINDA STODDEN, Indispensable Defendant.

          OPINION

          SUE E. MYERSCOUGH, U.S. DISTRICT JUDGE.

         This cause is before the Court on the Motion for Summary Judgment (d/e 24) filed by Plaintiff Grinnell Mutual Reinsurance Company. Because further briefing is necessary, the Motion is DENIED.

         I. PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND

         In August 2018, Grinnell filed a Complaint for Declaratory Judgment against Wade Harker and Linda Stodden. The Complaint alleges that Stodden is the plaintiff in an underlying litigation brought against Wade Harker and William Harker in the Circuit Court of the Fourth Judicial Circuit, Shelby County, Illinois, No. 2007-LM-40 (the Underlying Litigation).

         Stodden's Third Amended Complaint alleges that, on or about October 6, 2006, while in her yard at Rural Route 1, Box 108A, Sigel, Illinois, Stodden was attacked by a dog owned by William Harker and/or Wade Harker. Stodden seeks damages from Wade Harker and/or William Harker for injuries allegedly sustained as a result of the dog bite.

         In the instant litigation, Grinnell seeks a determination whether an insurance policy issued by Grinnell to William Harker and Janet Harker provides coverage for their adult son, Wade Harker. Grinnell seeks a declaratory judgment that Grinnell has no duty to defend or indemnify Wade Harker in the Underlying Litigation.

         Wade Harker did not respond to the Complaint. In November 2018, United States Magistrate Judge Tom Schanzle-Haskins issued an Order of Default of Defendant Wade Harker. On January 31, 2019, this Court denied Grinnell's Motion for Default Judgment against Wade Harker because such judgment might result in inconsistent or contradictory judgments. The Court granted Grinnell leave to refile the motion when the claims involving Stodden have been resolved. Order (d/e 19).

         On May 24, 2019, Grinnell filed a Motion for Summary Judgment (d/e 25). The Court deems Paragraphs 8, 9, 11, and 13 of the Grinnell's Undisputed Material Facts admitted because, while Stodden disputes those facts, Stodden failed to support each allegedly disputed fact by evidentiary documentation. See CDIL-LR 7.1(D)(2)(b)(2). In addition, the Court will consider Stodden's additional material facts. Grinnell admitted that the additional facts are undisputed but also argued that the facts are immaterial.

         II. FACTS

         The following facts are taken from Grinnell's Undisputed Material Facts, Stodden's additional facts, and the insurance policy in question.

         In 2005, Grinnell issued an insurance policy to William Harker and Janet Harker. The policy provided liability coverage to William Harker and Janet Harker effective April 28, 2005 to April 2, 2008. Stodden asserts, and Grinnell does not dispute-except to state the fact is immaterial-that William Harker and Janet Harker purchased an insurance policy that provided liability coverage to them for their residence at Rural Route 1, Box 107A, Sigel, Illinois (the Property) occupied by insured William Harker and Janet Harker.

         The declarations page of the policy provides that the policy period is April 28, 2005 to April 28, 2008 “12:01 AM S.T. at the address of the Named Insured.” The “Named Insured” is listed as William and Janet Harker, P.O. Box 192, Sigel, IL 62462. Defendant Wade Harker was not a named policy holder under the policy of insurance provided to William Harker and/or Janet Harker by Grinnell.

         The policy provides Property Coverages and Personal Liability Coverages. Section II, Personal Liability Coverages provides, in relevant part, as follows:

Subject to the liability limits and the terms of this policy, we will pay damages for which an “insured” becomes legally liable as a result of “bodily injury” or “property damage” caused by an “occurrence” to which this coverage applies.
If suit is filed against an “insured” for liability covered under this policy, we will provide a defense using lawyers we choose. We may investigate and settle any claim or suit as we deem appropriate.

         Special Provisions-Illinois HG 660245 1-05 (d/e 25-1, p. 37 of 47), Special Provisions-Illinois HG 660245 1-06 (d/e 25-1, p. 44 of 47).

         The policy states that the terms “you” and “your” in the policy refer to the “‘named insured' shown in the Declarations and the spouse of a resident of the same household.” Definitions A ...


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