Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

Harnden v. York Insurance Co.

United States District Court, D. Maine

July 3, 2019

PATRICIA HARNDEN, Plaintiff,
v.
YORK INSURANCE COMPANY OF MAINE, et al., Defendant

          ORDER ON DEFENDANT NETHERLANDS INSURANCE COMPANY'S MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT

          LANCE E. WALKER U.S. DISTRICT JUDGE

         Plaintiff Patricia Harnden filed this declaratory judgment action asserting claims for breach of contract, violation of the Maine Unfair Claims Settlement Practices Act, and violation of the Maine Unfair Trade Practices Act. Compl. (ECF No. 1); Amend. Compl. (ECF No. 6). Defendant Netherlands Insurance Company - the sole remaining defendant - now moves for summary judgment. Mot. Summ. J. (ECF No. 72).

         For the reasons discussed herein, Defendant Netherlands Insurance Company's Motion for Summary Judgment (ECF No. 72) is GRANTED.

         SUMMARY JUDGMENT FACTS

         The summary judgment facts are drawn from the parties' stipulations and statements of material facts submitted in accordance with Local Rule 56. The Court will adopt a statement of fact if it is admitted by the opposing party and is material to the dispute. If a statement is denied or qualified by the opposing party, or if an evidentiary objection is raised concerning the record evidence cited in support of a statement, the Court will review those portions of the summary judgment record cited by the parties, and will accept, for summary judgment purposes, the factual assertion that is most favorable to the party opposing the entry of summary judgment, provided that the record material cited in support of the assertion is of evidentiary quality and is capable of supporting the party's assertion, either directly or through reasonable inference. D. Me. Loc. R. 56; Boudreau v. Lussier, 901 F.3d 65, 69 (1st Cir. 2018).

         On December 28, 2015, Plaintiff Patricia Harnden was a passenger in a vehicle owned and operated by Sylvia Parsons. Stipulated Statement of Material Facts (“SMF”) ¶¶ 1-2 (ECF No. 71, #391-92). While Ms. Parson's vehicle was stopped or in the process of stopping at a red light, it was struck from behind by a vehicle owned and operated by Mary Ryan. SMF ¶ 3. Plaintiff asserts she suffered “significant injury and damages” because of the accident. SMF ¶ 4.

         Mary Ryan was determined to be the party at fault for the accident. SMF ¶ 6. Mary Ryan was insured under a policy issued by State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Company (“State Farm”). SMF ¶ 5. This policy included a Bodily Injury Liability Limit of $100, 000.00 per person and $300, 000.00 per accident.[1] SMF ¶ 5. Plaintiff settled her claims against Ryan with State Farm in exchange for a payment equal to the policy limit: $100, 000. SMF ¶¶ 6-7.

         Both Parsons and her vehicle were insured under a policy issued by York Insurance Company of Maine.[2] SMF ¶ 8. This policy included coverage up to the policy limit of $500, 000 for acts of underinsured motorists. SMF ¶ 10. This policy contained an “Other Insurance” provision in the Uninsured Motorist Coverage Endorsement which stated in relevant part:[3]

If there is other applicable insurance similar to the insurance provided by this endorsement, we will pay only our share of the loss. Our share is the proportion that our limit of liability bears to the total of all applicable limits. However, any insurance we provide with respect to a vehicle you do not own, including any vehicle used as a temporary substitute for “your covered auto”, shall be excess over any other collectible insurance similar to the insurance provided by this endorsement.

Def.'s Statement of Material Facts (“DSMF”) ¶¶ 1, 2 (ECF No. 73, #578); SMF, Ex. 4 at 75 (ECF No. 71-4). Plaintiff settled her claims against York Insurance Company in exchange for a payment of $100, 000 - a figure far below the policy limit of $500, 000. SMF ¶ 11.

         At the time of the accident, Plaintiff was insured under a policy issued by Netherlands Insurance Company.[4] SMF ¶ 12. This policy included coverage for acts of underinsured motorists up to the policy limit of $100, 000. SMF ¶ 14. This policy also included an “Other Insurance” provision in the Uninsured Motorist Coverage Endorsement identical to the provision included in Parsons's York Policy.[5] DSMF ¶¶ 1, 3; SMF, Ex. 5 at 68 (ECF No. 71-5).

         DISCUSSION

         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). As cautioned by the Supreme Court, “the mere existence of some alleged factual dispute between the parties will not defeat an otherwise properly supported motion for summary judgment; the requirement is that there be no genuine issue of material fact.” Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 247-48 (1986). A material fact is one that has the potential to determine the outcome of the litigation. Id. at 248; Oahn Nguyen Chung v. StudentCity.com, Inc., 854 F.3d 97, 101 (1st Cir. 2017). To raise a genuine issue of material fact, the party opposing the summary judgment motion must demonstrate that the record contains evidence that would permit the finder of fact to resolve the material issues in her favor. See Triangle Trading Co. v. Robroy Indus., Inc., 200 F.3d 1, 2 (1st Cir. 1999) (“Unless the party opposing a motion for summary judgment can identify a genuine issue as to a material fact, the motion may end the case.”).

         In its motion, Defendant focuses on one narrow question: “whether Plaintiff would be permitted to recover under the Netherlands' Policy if her damages are in excess of the amounts already recovered.” Mot. Summ. J., 3. Relying on Tibbetts v. Dairyland Ins. Co., 2010 ME 61, 999 A.2d 930, Defendant asserts that it is the “excess” underinsured motorist (“UM”) insurer and, in light of the coverage provided by Parsons's York insurance policy, has no liability to pay any damages to Plaintiff. Mot. Summ. J., 3-7. In response, Plaintiff agrees with the framework established in Tibbets, but argues that under York Mutual Insurance Company v. Continental Insurance Company, 560 A.2d 571 (Me. 1989), the York and Netherlands policies' “Other Insurance” provisions are contrary to Maine law and, therefore, should ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.