United States District Court, M.D. Louisiana
RULING AND ORDER
A. JACKSON JUDGE
the Court is Defendant American Bankers Insurance of
Florida's Motion for Summary Judgment (Doc.
47). Plaintiffs filed an opposition to the motion
(Doc. 48). Oral argument is not required. For the reasons
stated below, the motion is GRANTED.
matter arises from circumstances surrounding the historic
flooding that occurred in Baton Rouge in August, 2016. Eric
Graham and Caroline Pries Graham claim that their floors were
damaged by the floods. (Doc. 1-1 at p. 5). Plaintiffs allege
that Republic Fire and Casualty Insurance provided
insurance coverage for damages not caused by
"flood" and that Bankers provided insurance coverage
for damages that were caused by "flood."
(Id.). Plaintiffs allege that they notified both
Bankers and Republic of the damage and made claims for
coverage, but that both companies denied coverage on separate
grounds: Bankers claimed it could find no evidence of direct
flood damage; Republic claimed the damage was caused by the
evaporation of flood water under the floorboards, which
constituted flood damage. (Id.). Plaintiffs claim
that at the time of the filing of the complaint, the floors
had gone unrepaired for ten months because neither company
would accept responsibility for covering the damage.
(Id.). Plaintiffs bring claims of breach of contract
and bad faith against both Republic and Bankers.
(Id. at pp. 6-9).
claims that Plaintiffs failed to timely file a Proof of Loss
affidavit before filing their claim, as required by National
Flood Insurance Program. (Doc. 47-1). Therefore, Bankers
asserts that it is not statutorily obligated to pay
Plaintiffs' claims pursuant to 44 C.F.R. § Pt.
61, App. A(1), Art. VII(J).
judgment is appropriate "if the movant shows that there
is no genuine dispute as to any material fact and that the
movant is entitled to a judgment as a matter of law."
Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(a). "[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
determining whether the movant is entitled to summary
judgment, the Court "view[s] facts in the light most
favorable to the non-movant and draw[s] all reasonable
inferences in her favor." Coleman v. Houston Indep.
Sch. Dist., 113 F.3d 528, 533 (5th Cir. 1997) (citing
Brothers v. Klevenhagen, 28 F.3d 452, 455 (5th Cir.
1994)). At this stage, the Court does not evaluate the
credibility of witnesses, weigh the evidence, or resolve
factual disputes. Int'l Shortstop, Inc. v.
Rally's, Inc., 939 F.2d 1257, 1263 (5th Cir. 1991),
cert, denied, 502 U.S. 1059 (1992). However, if the
evidence in the record is such that a reasonable jury,
drawing all inferences in favor of the non-moving party,
could arrive at a verdict in that party's favor, the
motion for summary judgment must be denied. Int'l
Shortstop, Inc., 939 F.2d at 1263.
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). Summary
judgment will lie only "if the pleadings, depositions,
answers to interrogatories, and admissions on file, together
with affidavits if any, show that there is no genuine issue
as to any material fact, and that the moving party is
entitled to judgment as a matter of law." Sherman v.
Hallbauer, 455 F.2d 1236, 1241 (5th Cir. 1972).
claims that it issued Plaintiffs a Standard Flood Insurance
Policy ("SFIP"), pursuant to the terms of the
"Write Your Own" program promulgated by the National
Flood Insurance Program ("NFIP"). (Doc. 47-1 at p.
4). The SFIP as set forth in 44 C.F.R. pt. 61, App. A(1),
Art. VII(J) provides in relevant part:
of a flood loss to insured property, you must:
1. Give prompt written notice to us;
2. As soon as reasonably possible, separate the damaged and
undamaged property, putting it in the best possible order so