METROPOLITAN PROPERTY AND CASUALTY INSURANCE COMPANY, Plaintiff
WILLIAM GOOGINS, et al, Defendants
Thomas D. Warren Justice
Before the court are a motion for summary judgment by plaintiff Metropolitan Property and Casualty Insurance Co. and what the parties have treated as a cross-motion for summary judgment by defendant Estate of Eric Benson.
No formal cross motion has been filed but Metropolitan's reply papers on its motion for summary judgment were styled as both a reply and as an opposition to the Estate's cross motion. Subsequently, the Estate has filed reply papers in support of its cross motion. Since the parties have been treating the Estate as having filed a cross-motion and since Rule 56(c) allows summary judgment to be entered against the moving party even if no formal cross-motion is filed, the court will consider the Estate has having filed a cross-motion based on its statement of additional material facts.
Summary judgment should be granted if there is no genuine dispute as to any material fact and the movant is entitled to judgment as a matter of law. In considering a motion for summary judgment, the court is required to consider only the portions of the record referred to and the material facts set forth in the parties' Rule 56(h) statements. E.g., Johnson v. McNeil, 2002 ME 99 ¶ 8, 800 A.2d 702. The facts must be considered in the light most favorable to the non-moving party. Id. Thus, for purposes of summary judgment, any factual disputes must be resolved against the movant. Nevertheless, when the facts offered by a party in opposition to summary judgment would not, if offered at trial, be sufficient to withstand a motion for judgment as a matter of law, summary judgment should be granted. Rodrigue v. Rodrigue, 1997 ME 99 ¶ 8, 694 A.2d 924.
This case arises from the death of Eric Benson, who died when his head struck the pavement after he was punched once by William Googins on May 23, 2010. The issues in this case are whether Metropolitan is entitled to a declaratory judgment that it has no obligation to indemnify Googins for a judgment against him that has been obtained by the Estate and the corresponding question of whether Metropolitan is liable on a reach and apply claim brought by the Estate.
Status of William Googins as a Resident in the Policyholder's Household
It is undisputed that at the time of Eric Benson's death, a homeowner's policy issued to Brenda Googins (grandmother of William Googins) was in effect. With certain exclusions discussed further below, that policy provided that "we will pay all sums for bodily injury and property damage to others for which the law holds you responsible because of an occurrence to which this coverage applies."
"You" and "your" are defined in the policy as follows:
the person or person named in the Declarations and if a resident of the same household:
A. the spouse of such person or persons;
B. the relatives of either; or
C. any other person under the age of twenty-one in the care of any ...