United States District Court, E.D. Louisiana
ORDER & REASONS
the Court are Defendants' cross motions for summary
judgment. R. Docs. 33, 34. Each motion is opposed. R. Docs.
37, 38. Having considered the parties' arguments and the
applicable law, the Court now issues this Order and Reasons.
case arises from injuries Plaintiff Ronald Richardson
(“Richardson”) allegedly sustained in a collision
between two 18-wheelers. On January 14, 2016, Plaintiff was
sitting inside his truck waiting to refuel when an unknown
driver in an 18-wheeler struck Plaintiff's vehicle. R.
Doc. 1-4 at 1. The unknown driver then fled the scene.
time of the accident, Plaintiff was working on behalf of 1845
Oilfield Transport, LLC (“D & T Holdings”).
Plaintiff alleges Defendant Zurich American Insurance Company
(“Zurich”) provided insurance coverage to and on
behalf of D & T Holdings. Defendant Great American
Assurance Company (“American”) provided
underinsured/uninsured insurance coverage to Plaintiff. R.
Doc. 1-4 at 2. Plaintiff claims that both insurance companies
have refused to make any tender under the policies despite
receiving adequate proof of loss. R. Doc. 1-4 at 3. Plaintiff
claims that Defendants Zurich and American's failure to
make tender on his claim is in bad faith and therefore he is
entitled to statutory damages and attorney's fees. R.
Doc. 1-4 at 4.
Zurich answers and denies all allegations in Plaintiff's
complaint. R. Doc. 5 at 1-2. Zurich admits it was the insurer
for D & T Holdings and provided coverage to Plaintiff
while his truck was being used by or for D & T Holdings.
R. Doc. 5 at 2. Defendant American answers and denies the
allegations in Plaintiff's complaint. R. Doc. 6 at 1-3.
Defendant asserts that Plaintiff has not provided adequate
proof that the driver in the alleged accident was uninsured.
Therefore American contends it cannot be held liable until it
receives proof that Plaintiffs injuries and damages exhaust
the limits of the tortfeasor's coverage. R. Doc. 6 at
Zurich and American claim that any assertion of bad faith is
barred because Plaintiff only recently provided identifying
information regarding the tortfeasor's vehicle to the
Defendants. R. Doc. 6 at 5-6; R. Doc. 5 at 12. Defendants
also raise various affirmative defenses, including
contributory negligence because of where Plaintiff chose to
park his vehicle. R. Doc. 6 at 6; R. Doc. 5 at 13.
Defendant Zurich's Motion for Summary Judgment (R. Doc.
Zurich moves for summary judgment on the ranking of the
Defendants' uninsured motorist (“UM”)
coverage. R. Doc. 33. Zurich alleges that the policy provided
by GAAC is the primary coverage for Plaintiff Richardson and
the Zurich policy is only available as excess when the GAAC
policy is exhausted. R. Doc. 33-1 at 1, 3. Zurich argues that
the GAAC policy has a limit of $1, 000, 000 and lists the
truck in question as a covered auto. R. Doc. 33-1 at 5.
Zurich argues that this is coverage on the vehicle; in
contrast, the Zurich policy is not coverage on the vehicle
but is based on the status of the vehicle at the time of the
accident. R. Doc. 33-1 at 6. Therefore, because the GAAC
policy is coverage on the vehicle, Zurich argues that under
Louisiana law it is the primary UM coverage in this accident.
R. Doc. 33-1 at 7.
Defendant GAAC's Motion for Summary Judgment (R. Doc.
GAAC also moves for summary judgment on the ranking of the
Defendants' UM coverage. R. Doc. 34. GAAC alleges that
the policies provided by Zurich and GAAC are co-primary. R.
Doc. 34-1 at 1. GAAC argues that the truck in question is a
covered auto under the Zurich policy because it was under
lease for a year. R. Doc. 34-1 at 8. GAAC argues that because
it lists the truck as a covered auto Louisiana law makes
Zurich's coverage primary for Plaintiff Richardson's
injuries because they occurred in a covered auto that he did
not own. R. Doc. 34-1 at 9. Furthermore, GAAC argues that
because both policies have language apportioning coverage
this language should be applied and each Defendant should be
liable proportionate to the applicable limits of their
policies. R. Doc. 34-1 at 14.
LAW & ANALYSIS
Summary Judgment Standard ...