United States District Court, D. Maine
RICHARD G. MIEKKA, as Personal Representative for the Estate of James R. Miekka, Plaintiff
ALLSTATE INSURANCE COMPANY, Defendant
RECOMMENDED DECISION ON MOTIONS FOR SUMMARY
C. NIVISON U.S. MAGISTRATE JUDGE.
action, Plaintiff Richard Miekka, as Personal Representative
of the Estate of James Miekka, his son, seeks to recover
proceeds under an automobile insurance policy issued by
Defendant Allstate Insurance Company (the Policy). The matter
is before the Court on the parties' motions for summary
a review the summary judgment filings, and after
consideration of the parties' arguments, I recommend the
Court grant Defendant's Motion for Summary Judgment (ECF
No. 29) and deny Plaintiff's Motion for Summary Judgment
(ECF No. 33).
Richard Miekka is the personal representative of the estate
of his late son, James R. Miekka, whose estate was probated
in Citrus County, Florida. (Defendant's Statement of
Material Facts (DSMF), ECF No. 30, ¶ 1; Plaintiff's
Statement of Material Facts (PSMF), ECF No. 34, ¶ 1.)
James Miekka died as the result of an August 19, 2014, motor
vehicle accident in Surry, Maine, which accident occurred
when James was walking along the side of the road and was
struck by a motor vehicle. (DSMF ¶ 2; PSMF ¶ 3.)
The operator of the motor vehicle maintained liability
insurance coverage in the amount of $50, 000, which amount
was paid to James's estate. (DSMF ¶¶ 3, 4.) At
the time of his death, James, who had been blind since age
27, was 54 years old. (DSMF ¶¶ 13, 14.)
Policy was issued by Defendant to James's parents,
Richard Miekka (Plaintiff) and Jeanette Miekka, who reside in
St. Petersburg, Florida. (DSMF ¶ 5.) The Policy includes
uninsured motorist (UM) coverage in the amount of $100, 000.
(Id. ¶ 7; Joint Stipulation ¶ 6, ECF No.
14.) To recover UM coverage under the Policy, a person must,
inter alia, qualify as an “Insured person, ”
which term is defined to include “any resident
relative” of the policy holder. (DSMF ¶¶ 10 -
11.) The parties agree Plaintiff can recover under the Policy
only if James qualified as a “resident relative”
of his parents at the time of the motor vehicle accident.
Policy defines “resident” or “reside”
as: “the physical presence in your [the policy
holders'] household with the intention to continue living
there. Your unmarried dependent children while temporarily
away from home will be considered resident(s) if they intend
to continue to live in your household.” (Id.
spent time every year, including overnight stays, at three
different homes: (1) his parents' home in St. Petersburg,
Florida; (2) a home James owned in Homosassa, Florida; and
(3) a home James owned in Surry, Maine. Plaintiff attempts to
establish as an undisputed fact that James was a resident of,
or resided at, his parents' home in St.
Petersburg. Defendant attempts to establish as an
undisputed fact that James was a resident of his homes in
Homosassa and Surry, and was only an occasional guest at his
parents' home in St. Petersburg.
offered by Plaintiff to establish James's residence in
the Miekkas moved to their current home in St. Petersburg, in
1993, James moved with them, and had his own bedroom. The
room remained his bedroom until his death. (PSMF ¶ 6.)
James owned two homes of his own; one in Citrus County,
Florida, and a summer home in Maine. (Id. ¶ 7.)
to James's father, James “spent his summers in a
home that he owned in Maine [and] lived in Citrus County the
rest of the year except when he was visiting our home.”
(Id.; July 2016 R. Miekka Deposition at 10:17 - 25.)
Jeanette Miekka, James's mother, reports that James
stayed at the St. Petersburg house “maybe six or seven
times a year;” sometimes he would stay “just a
few days” and other times “it would be a week,
maybe a little longer.” (Jeanette Miekka Deposition at
8:11 - 16, ECF No. 34-2.)
had a key to his parents' house. (PSMF ¶ 8.) In his
bedroom at his parents' house, James kept clothing and
certain other items related to his hobbies, which items
included those used for hunting. (Id. ¶¶
9, 47.) James also maintained a toothbrush, toothpaste, and a
razor in a bathroom in his parents' home.
(Id. ¶ 10.) In addition, in the home, James had
personal financial records, work-related documents, breakfast
cereal, and some bottles of alcohol. (Id.
¶¶ 12, 39, 41.)
guide dog was familiar with the Miekka's home and had
been trained to be familiar with the City of St. Petersburg.
(Id. ¶¶ 13, 57.) James had other guide
dogs in the past and they were also trained for his
parents' house. (Id. ¶ 14.)
had a girlfriend, Susan Tate, who lived in Citrus County,
where James owned a home; they had been in the relationship
for 12 years. (Id. ¶¶ 15, 42.) Ms. Tate
did not live with James, but she lived close to James and
they visited about twice each week. (Id. ¶ 63.)
was self-employed as a financial advisor and wrote a monthly
newsletter that he distributed to his clients. Richard Miekka
served as James's assistant in the publication of the
report. He typed the reports for James and composed parts of
the reports with James's input. The report was written
and produced at Richard and Jeannette Miekka's home in
St. Petersburg. (Id. ¶ 16.)
filed U.S. tax returns with Richard's assistance. James
used his parents' residence address on all tax returns.
(Id. ¶ 17.) James regularly received most of
his mail, including social security documents, IRS documents,
bank and credit card statements, and multiple brokerage and
stockholder statements, at his parents' home.
(Id. ¶¶ 19 - 24, 44, 46.) James received
bills at his parents' address regarding his own homes,
including utility bills, television and electric bills and
lawn mowing bills for the homes. (Id. ¶¶
homeowner's policy for his Surry, Maine, property was
sent to “James Miekka, care of Richard and Jeannette
Miekka” at their St. Petersburg address. (Id.
¶ 26.) The Town of Surry sent the real-estate tax bill
to James at his parents' home; James also received
pharmacy statements at his parents' address.
(Id. ¶¶ 27 - 28.) Recordings from the
Pinellas County Library for the Blind, James's Florida
hunting and fishing certificate, mailings from James's
dentist in St. Petersburg, the death certificate from the