United States District Court, W.D. Louisiana, Lafayette Division
WHITEHURST MAGISTRATE JUDGE.
R. Summerhays, United States District Judge.
present matter before the court is have filed this motion for
summary judgment filed by defendants, PV Holding Corp., Avis
Budget Car Rental, LLC and Avis Budget Group, Inc,
("Avis Defendants") [doc, 26], This case arises out
of a collision involving a rented automobile. Plaintiff Mary
Vickers contends that the Avis Defendants breached their
obligation to provide liability insurance coverage for the
collision. The Avis Defendants contend that they have no
contractual or statutory obligation to provide coverage for
the collision. For the following reasons, the Court GRANTS
the Avis Defendants' motion for summary judgment.
in the morning of November 30, 2016, Mary Vickers was driving
eastbound on Johnston Street in Lafayette, Louisiana, when
her vehicle collided with a vehicle driven by defendant Adam
Pousson. Pousson had just run a red light at the intersection
of Johnston Street and Bertrand Drive. Vickers was injured in
the collision. Pousson was arrested and charged with
operating a motor vehicle while intoxicated after a
breathalyzer test administered to him at the scene of the
collision registered a blood alcohol level of 0.221g%.
Pousson was also charged with reckless driving for running
the red light.
vehicle driven by Pousson was a 2016 Ford Mustang owned by PV
Holding Corp. and rented by Avis Rent A Car System, LLC. Avis
Rent A Car System is not a party in this action. Pousson was
employed at the time by Cerner Corporation, and the Mustang
was rented under a Worldwide Rate Agreement between Cerner
and defendant Avis Budget Car Rental, LLC (the "Rate
Agreement"). The Rate Agreement provided that if a
vehicle is rented for business purposes under the agreement,
the Cerner employee renting the vehicle is covered by
liability insurance for bodily injury or death up to a limit
of $100, 000 for each person, up to $300, 000 for each
accident, and for property damage up to a limit of $25, 000.
This coverage is contingent on the renter's compliance
with the "terms of this Agreement and the applicable
Avis standard rental agreement."When Pousson rented the
Mustang, he received an Avis Standard Rental Agreement. This
agreement shows that Pousson declined liability coverage and
other optional services. This agreement also states that it
is a violation of the agreement to use the rented vehicle
"under the influence of alcohol," or to use the
filed this case in the 15th JDC against Pousson, the Avis
Defendants, and Allstate Property and Casualty Insurance
Company (Plaintiffs UM coverage provider). She contends that
the Avis Defendants were required to provide liability
insurance coverage for the collision either by contract or by
statute. The Avis Defendants removed the action to federal
court on January 9, 2018, based on diversity jurisdiction
under 28 U.S.C. § 1332. The Avis Defendants then filed
the present motion, arguing that Pousson's violation of
the Avis Standard Rental Agreement terminated any contractual
or statutory obligation to provide liability insurance
The Summary Judgment Standard
should grant a motion for summary judgment when 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. The party moving for
summary judgment is initially responsible for identifying
portions of pleadings and discovery that show the lack of a
genuine issue of material fact. Titbacex, Inc. v. M/V
Risan, 45 F.3d 951, 954 (5th Cir. 1995). The Court must
deny the motion for summary judgment if the movant fails to
meet this burden. Id.
movant makes this showing, however, the burden then shifts to
the non-moving party to "set forth specific facts
showing that there is a genuine issue for trial."
Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 248
(1986) (quotations omitted). This requires more than mere
allegations or denials of the adverse party's pleadings.
Instead, the nonmovant must submit "significant
probative evidence" in support of his claim. State
Farm Life Ins. Co. v. Gutterman, 896 F.2d 116, 118 (5th
Cir. 1990). "If the evidence is merely colorable, or is
not significantly probative, summary judgment may be
granted." Anderson, 477 U.S. at 249 (citations
may not make credibility determinations or weigh the evidence
in ruling on a motion for summary judgment. Reeves v.
Sanderson Plumbing Prods., Inc., 530 U.S. 133, 150
(2000), The court is also required to view all evidence in
the light most favorable to the non-moving party and draw all
reasonable inferences in that party's favor. Clift v.
Clip, 210 F.3d 268, 270 (5th Cir. 2000). Under this
standard, a genuine issue of material fact exists if a
reasonable trier of fact could render a verdict for the
nonmoving party. Brumfield v. Hollins, 551 F.3d 322,
326 (5th Cir. 2008).
Liability of the Avis Defendants to Provide Liability
Insurance Coverage under the Rate Agreement.
contends that the Rate Agreement and the Avis Standard Rental
Agreement obligate the Avis Defendants to provide liability
insurance coverage for the injuries she suffered in the
collision. Schedule B of the Rate Agreement provides that a
Cerner employee renting under the company's number will
be provided primary coverage either under an automobile
liability insurance policy, or as a duly authorized
self-insurer, covering bodily injury to persons and damage to
property arising out of the maintenance, condition, use or
operation of the Avis Rental vehicle...." But the only
signatory to the Rate Agreement is Avis Budget Car Rental,
LLC. Neither PV Holding nor Avis Budget Group are parties to
the Rate Agreement and the insurance obligation in Schedule
B. PV Holding was the owner of the Mustang driven by Pousson.
As the Avis Defendants point out in their Motion for Summary
Judgment, PV Holding's status as the owner of the
vehicle, standing alone, provides no basis ...