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Delta Coatings, Inc. v. Travelers Property Casualty Co. of America

United States District Court, M.D. Louisiana

February 17, 2017

DELTA COATINGS, INC.
v.
TRAVELERS PROPERTY CASUALTY COMPANY OF AMERICA

          RULING AND ORDER.

          BRIAN A. JACKSON, CHIEF JUDGE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT.

         Before the Court is the Motion of Travelers Property Casualty Company of America for Summary Judgment (Doc. 28) filed by Defendant. Defendant seeks an order from this Court granting summary judgment in its favor on Plainitff's claims, which relate to Defendant's denial of insurance coverage in connection with an incident that occurred on December 29, 2013, involving two barges that were chartered by Plaintiff. Specifically, Defendant argues that the three insurance policies that were effective on the date of the incident exclude coverage for an incident of this nature. Plaintiff did not submit a memorandum in opposition to the Motion.' For the reasons explained herein, the Motion[1] of Travelers Property Casualty Company of America for Summary Judgment (Doc. 28) is GRANTED.

         I. BACKGROUND[2]

         On December 29, 2013, two barges - MCD-304 and LL-101 - sustained damages while moored at the Momentive Specialty Chemicals dock ("MSC Dock") on the Mississippi River in Geismar, Louisiana. The barges also caused damage to the MSC Dock itself. At the time that the damage occurred, Plaintiff had contracted to charter the barges from Creole Chief, Inc. ("Creole Chief).

         Defendant insured Plaintiff under three policies at the time that the damage occurred: a Protection and Indemnity Policy ("P&I Policy"), a Bumbershoot Liability Policy ("Bumbershoot Policy"), and a Marine General Liability Policy ("MGL Policy").

         Regarding the P&I Policy and the Bumbershoot Policy, neither of the barges were listed in the Schedule of Vessels for which coverage was provided by Defendant. Exclusion (D) of the P&I Policy excludes coverage for any damage to or caused by property chartered by Plaintiff. Exclusion (3) of the Bumbershoot Policy excludes coverage for any damage to or caused by property that was in the "care, custody, or control" of Plaintiff. Exclusion (20) of the MGL Policy excludes coverage for any damage to property rented to Plaintiff. Further, Exclusion (5) of the MGL Policy excludes from coverage damage to property arising out of the operation of any watercraft chartered to Plaintiff.

         Under its contract with Creole Chief, Plaintiff assumed liability for damages to the two barges. Exclusion (A) of the P&I Policy, Exclusion (5) of the Bumbershoot Policy, and Exclusion (2) of the MGL Policy exclude from coverage any liability assumed by Plaintiff.

         II. STANDARD OF REVIEW

         Summary judgment is appropriate "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 party asserting that a fact cannot be or is genuinely disputed must support the assertion by . . . 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, [and] interrogatory answers" - or by averring that an adverse party cannot produce admissible evidence to support the presence of a genuine dispute. Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(c)(1).

         "[W]hen a properly supported motion for summary judgment is made, the adverse party must set forth specific facts showing that there is a genuine issue for trial." Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 250 (1986) (quotation marks and footnote omitted). When the non-movant fails to file a memorandum in opposition to a motion for summary judgment, a court may accept as undisputed the facts that the movant submits in support of its motion. See Eversley v. MBank Dallas, 843 F.2d 172, 174 (5th Cir. 1988).

         In sum, summary judgment is appropriate if, "after adequate time for discovery and upon motion, [the non-movant] fails to make a showing sufficient to establish the existence of an element essential to that party's case, and on which that party will bear the burden of proof at trial." Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 322 (1986). If the non-movant fails to file a memorandum in opposition to a motion for summary judgment, a court may grant the motion if the movant's "submittals ma[k]e a prima facie showing of its entitlement to judgment." Eversley, 843 F.2d at 174 (citing Matsushita Elec. Indus. Co. v. Zenith Radio Corp., 475 U.S. 574 (1986); Anderson, 477 U.S. 242; Celotex, 477 U.S. 317).

         III. DISCUSSION

         The Court finds that the facts submitted by Defendant in support of its Motion make out a 'prima facie showing of its entitlement to judgment" and that, given the lack of opposition by Plaintiff, Defendant is entitled to summary judgment on Plaintiffs claims. Id. Defendant has demonstrated that exclusions contained in the three policies under which it insured Plaintiff exclude liability for the incident that is at issue in this case. The barges were not listed on the P&I Policy's and the Bumbcrshoot Policy's Schedule of Vessels, and therefore coverage is excluded for those barges under those policies. Additionally, because the barges were chartered by Plaintiff from Creole Chief, damage to those barges is excluded by Exclusion (D) of the P&I Policy, Exclusion (3) of the Bumbershoot Policy, and Exclusion (20) of the MGL Policy. Damage to the MSC Dock caused by the barges, due to their chartered status, is excluded by Exclusion (D) of the P&I Policy, Exclusion (3) of the Bumbershoot Policy, and Exclusion (5) of the MGL Policy. Further, because Plaintiff assumed liability for damage to the barges under its contract with Creole Chief, Exclusion (A) of the P&I Policy, Exclusion (5) of the Bumbershoot Policy, and Exclusion (2) of the MGL Policy exclude coverage for any such liability. See Thermo Terratech v. GDC Enviro-Solutions, Inc., 265 F.3d 329, 334 (5th Cir. 2001) ("When the language of an insurance policy is clear, it must be enforced as written.").

         Plaintiff has not opposed the Motion and therefore has not put forth any facts to dispute the application or interpretation of these exclusions and, consequently, to "show[] that there is a genuine issue for trial." Anderson, 477 U.S. at 250. Therefore, the Court finds that ...


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