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Dairyland Insurance Co. v. Sullivan

United States District Court, D. Maine

March 3, 2017

MCARTHUR SULLIVAN, Defendant. and RAVI RAMDEO, Party-in-Interest



         In this action, the Plaintiff, Dairyland Insurance Company (“Dairyland”) seeks to rescind certain automobile insurance policies that it issued to the Defendant, McArthur Sullivan, alleging that Sullivan made material fraudulent representations in his application for insurance. Dairyland also seeks a declaration stating that it is relieved of any obligation to provide insurance coverage, including defense or indemnification.

         The matter is before the court on Dairyland's Motion for Summary Judgment (ECF No. 76). Sullivan did not file an opposition to the motion or respond to Dairyland's Statement of Material Facts (ECF No. 77). For the reasons explained below, Dairyland's motion is granted.


         Local Rule 56 directs that “[f]acts contained in a supporting or opposing statement of material facts, if supported by record citations as required by this rule, shall be deemed admitted unless properly controverted.” Loc. R. 56(f). Because Sullivan did not file a response to Dairyland's Statement of Material Facts or otherwise controvert the facts contained in it, those facts are deemed admitted. Accordingly, I incorporate by reference paragraphs 1 through 40 of Dairyland's Statement of Material Facts.


         A. Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 56

         Summary judgment is appropriate “if 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(a); Ahmed v. Johnson, 752 F.3d 490, 495 (1st Cir. 2014). “A dispute is genuine if ‘the evidence about the fact is such that a reasonable jury could resolve the point in favor of the non-moving party.'” Johnson v. Univ. of P.R., 714 F.3d 48, 52 (1st Cir. 2013) (quoting Thompson v. Coca-Cola Co., 522 F.3d 168, 175 (1st Cir. 2008)). “A fact is material if it has potential to determine the outcome of the litigation.” Id. (citing Maymí v. P.R. Ports Auth., 515 F.3d 20, 25 (1st Cir. 2008)).

         In determining whether a party moving for summary judgment has met its burden, the court must view the record in the light most favorable to the nonmoving party and give that party the benefit of all reasonable inferences in its favor. Brooks v. AIG SunAmerica Life Assur. Co., 480 F.3d 579, 586 (1st Cir. 2007). Once the moving party has made a preliminary showing that no genuine issue of material fact exists, the nonmovant must “produce specific facts, in suitable evidentiary form, to establish the presence of a trialworthy issue.” Id. (citing Clifford v. Barnhart, 449 F.3d 276, 280 (1st Cir. 2006)) (internal quotation marks and emphasis omitted); Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(c). “[A]s to any essential factual element of its claim on which the nonmovant would bear the burden of proof at trial, its failure to come forward with sufficient evidence to generate a trialworthy issue warrants summary judgment to the moving party.” In re Spigel, 260 F.3d 27, 31 (1st Cir. 2001) (internal quotation and citation omitted).

         B. Local Rule 56

         The evidence that the court may consider in deciding whether genuine issues of material fact exist for purposes of summary judgment is circumscribed by the local rules of this district. See Loc. R. 56. The moving party must first file a statement of material facts that it claims are not in dispute. See Loc. R. 56(b). Each fact must be set forth in a numbered paragraph and supported by a specific record citation. See Id. The court may disregard “any statement of fact not supported by a specific citation to record material properly considered on summary judgment” and has “no independent duty to search or consider any part of the record not specifically referenced in the parties' separate statement of facts.” Loc. R. 56(f); see also, e.g., Packgen v. BP Exploration, Inc., 754 F.3d 61, 70 (1st Cir. 2014); Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(e)(2) (“If a party fails to properly support an assertion of fact or fails to properly address another party's assertion of fact as required by Rule 56(c), the court may . . . consider the fact undisputed for purposes of the motion[.]”).


         A. Count One: Rescission of the Policies Under 24 M.R.S.A. § 2411

         Section 2411 of the Maine Insurance Code, 24-A M.R.S.A. §§ 1-7305 (2017), governs statements made in an application for insurance and provides that an insurer may deny recovery if it has proof of a misrepresentation, omission, or concealment that was both fraudulent and material to the acceptance of the risk. N. E. Ins. Co. v. Young,2011 ME 89, ¶ 18, 26 A.3d 794; see also Liberty Ins. Underwriters, Inc. v. Estate of Faulkner,2008 ME 149, ¶ 14, 957 A.2d 94 (“Title 24-A M.R.S. § 2411 requires an insurer to prove both fraud and ...

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