Plaintiffs - Patrick Hunt, Esq.
Defendant- Christine Kennedy- Jensen, Esq.
D. Warren Justice
the court are cross-motions based on a joint stipulation of
the parties have denominated their motions as motions for
summary judgment based on stipulated Facts, there is a
difference between snmmary judgment and decisions based on
stipulated facts. The difference is that the court is
permitted to draw inferences from a stipulated record.
See Blue Sky West LLC v. Maine Revenue Services,
2019 ME 137, ¶ 16 n.10, 215 A.3d K12. In this case,
however., Lite difference does not matter because the case
turns on the interpretation of an insurance contract, which
is "an issue of law. and no inferences need. be drawn.
stipulated Facts may be .summarized as follows:
Danny Lowe and Kelly Wentworth were injured in a collision
with a 2015 Hyundai driven by Alphee Lambert in June 2017. At
the time of the collision Lambert was acting in the course
and scope of his employment with Coastline Security
Management, which was the named insured on a commercial auto
policy issued by Progressive Northern Insurance Co with u
$500, 000 liability coverage limit. The 2015 Hyundai was
listed as an insured vehicle on the Progressive policy.
2015 Hyundai was owned by Alphee Lambert and his wife
Kathleen. Alphee and Kathleen were listed as named insureds
on an auto policy issued by defendant Metropolitan Property
and Casualty Insurance Co., but the 2015 Hyundai was not
listed as an insured vehicle on the Metropolitan policy. The
issue in this case is whether, in driving the 2015 Hyundai,
Alphee Lambert was covered by the Metropolitan policy as well
as by the commercial policy issued to Coastline Security
Management. Lowe and Wentworth sued Lambert and Coastline
Security Management and obtained an agreed judgment for $750,
000 - $500, 000 of which was covered by the commercial policy
issued to Coastline Security Management. The understanding of
the parties is that Lowe and Wentworth would attempt to
collect the remaining $250, 000 through a reach and apply
action against Metropolitan.
resolve a reach and apply action, [the court must] first
identify the basis of liability and damages from the
underlying complaint and judgment. Langevin v. Allstate
Ins. Co., 2013 . ME 55, ¶ 8. The court then reviews
the insurance policy in order "to determine if any of
the damages awarded in the underlying judgment are based on
claims that would be recoverable pursuant to the . . .
policy." Jacobi v. MMG Ins. Co., 2011 ME 56,
¶ 14, 17 A.3d 1229. "[T]he party seeking to recover
pursuant to the reach an apply statute, . . has the burden to
demonstrate that [his] awarded damages fall within the scope
of the insurance contract," Id.
meaning of language contained in an insurance contract is a
question of law." Patrons Oxford Ins. Co. v.
Harris, 2006 ME 72, ¶ 7, 905 A.2d 819. Any
ambiguity in an insurance policy must be construed strictly
against the insurer. Vt. Mut. Ins. Co. v. Ben-Ami,
2018 ME 125, ¶ 13, 193 A.3d 178. Similarly, any policy
exclusion is also construed "strictly against the
insurer and liberally in favor of the insured."
Acadia Ins. Co. v. Vt. Mut. Ins. Co., 2004 ME 121,
¶ 5, 860 A.2d 390 (quotation omitted).
case, the relevant policy language is that
"[Metropolitan] will pay damages for bodily injury and
property damage to others for which the law holds an Insured
responsible because of an accident which results from the
ownership, maintenance or use of a covered automobile [or] a
non-owned automobile . . . ." The 2015 Hyundai was not a
covered automobile, and the question in this case is whether
it qualifies as a "non-owned automobile."
automobile" is defined in the policy in pertinent part
An automobile which is not owned by, furnished to, or made
available for regular use to you or any resident ...