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 Financial Casualty Co. v. Milton Hardware, LLC

United States District Court, S.D. West Virginia, Huntington Division

May 14, 2018

UNITED FINANCIAL CASUALTY COMPANY, Plaintiff,
v.
MILTON HARDWARE, LLC, BUILDERS DISCOUNT, LLC, RODNEY PERRY, and GREG ALLEN BALL, Defendants.

          MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

          ROBERT C. CHAMBERS, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

         Currently pending before the Court is Plaintiff United Financial Casualty Company ("United")'s Motion for Summary Judgment, ECF No. 25; Defendant Greg Allen Ball ("Ball")'s Cross-Motion for Summary Judgment, ECF No. 28; and Defendant Rodney Perry ("Perry")'s Motion for Summary Judgment, ECF No. 40. Defendants Milton Hardware, LLC ("Milton Hardware") and Builders Discount, LLC ("Builders Discount") failed to answer United's Complaint and are therefore in default at this time. ECF No. 22. For the reasons set forth herein, United's Motion is GRANTED, Ball's Motion is DENIED, and Perry's Motion is DENIED. The judgment of this Court shall additionally be binding upon defaulting Defendants Milton Hardware and Builders Discount.

         I. Background

         The facts underlying this action are not in dispute. The conduct at issue in this case occurred on October 25, 2016. ECF No. 26, at 1; ECF No. 29, at 1; ECF No. 41, at 1. At that time, Ball was employed by Milton Hardware and, pursuant to that employment, was performing work on Perry's property. Id. Perry was a Milton Hardware customer. Id. During the course of the work on Perry's property, someone needed to move a Milton Hardware company truck. Id. The owner of Milton Hardware, who was also working on site, gave Perry permission to move the Milton Hardware truck out of the way. ECF No. 26, at 2; ECF No. 29, at 2; ECF No. 41, at 2. With that permission, Perry proceeded to move the Milton Hardware truck and, in doing so, struck Ball with the truck, causing severe injuries. Id. At the time Ball was struck and injured, Milton Hardware had defaulted on its workers' compensation premiums. Id. Despite having defaulted on its workers' compensation premiums, however, Milton Hardware had a commercial auto policy with United at the time of Ball's injuries. Id.

         United, Ball, and Perry now ask this Court to determine the rights and liabilities of the parties. United asks the Court to declare that it owes no coverage for Ball's injuries, ECF No. 26, at 20, while Ball and Perry request that the Court declare that United owes Ball coverage for his injuries, ECF No. 29, at 20; ECF No. 41, at 8.

         II. Standard of Review

         While United now seeks summary judgment against all defendants, ECF No. 25, the Court notes that Defendants Milton Hardware and Builders Discount are currently in default. As such, the Court's authority to enter judgment against Milton Hardware and Builders Discount is properly characterized as the power to enter default judgment. Defendants Ball and Perry, however, have responded to United's Complaint and participated actively in this case. The Court's authority to enter judgment as to these defendants, then, is properly characterized as the power to enter summary judgment. These respective powers are discussed below.

         a. Default Judgment

         Default judgment may be entered against a defendant when that defendant fails "to plead or otherwise defend" his or her case. Fed.R.Civ.P. 55. "[T]rial judges are vested with discretion, which must be liberally exercised, in entering [default] judgments. . ." United States v. Moradi, 673 F.2d 725, 727 (4th Cir. 1982). Default judgment may be granted even in declaratory judgment actions. See American Select Ins. Co. v. Taylor, 445 F.Supp.2d 681 (N.D.W.Va. 2006).

         b. Summary Judgment

         Summary judgment, on the other hand, may be entered when a "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. Summary judgment may not be granted where 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). Summary judgment should be granted, however, when, drawing all inferences in a light most favorable to the non-movant, "the record as a whole could not lead a rational trier of fact to find for the non-movant." Williams v. Griffin, 952 F.2d 820, 823 (4th Cir. 1991).

         III. Insurance Policy

         At the time of Ball's injuries, Milton Hardware had defaulted on its workers' compensation premiums. ECF No. 26, at 2; ECF No. 29, at 2; ECF No. 41, at 2. At the same time, however, Milton Hardware held an active commercial auto insurance policy with United. Id. United issued the relevant policy (Commercial Auto Insurance Policy Number 02964608-0) to Milton Hardware and Builders Discount for the period April 7, 2016 to April 7, 2017. ECF No. 25-2. The policy provides liability coverage to others for bodily injury and property damage up to $1, 000, 000; legal liability coverage to others for bodily injury and property damage up to $1, 000, 000; and medical payments in the amount of $5, 000 for each person. Id.

         There are several exclusions listed in the policy, however. See ECF No. 25-2. First, the policy includes a workers' compensation exclusion. The policy states, "[Liability coverage], including our duty to defend, does not apply to . . . [a]ny obligation for which an insured. . . may be held liable under workers' compensation ... law..." Id. The policy goes on to state that liability coverage does not apply to "[a]n employee of any insured" where that employee's injuries "aris[e] out of or within the course of [t]hat employee's employment by [the] insured. . ." Id. The policy also includes a limit of liability for uninsured motorists, noting that "the amount of damages that an insured is ...


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.