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.

Stillman v. Travelers Ins. Co.

July 05, 1996

ALLAN STILLMAN, AS GENERAL PARTNER OF 241 E. 76TH ST., CO., LTD. D/B/A FOUNTAINS OF PLANTATION, PLAINTIFF-APPELLEE,
v.
THE TRAVELERS INSURANCE COMPANY, A FOREIGN CORPORATION A/K/A CHARTER OAK FIRE INSURANCE COMPANY, DEFENDANT, CHARTER OAK FIRE INSURANCE COMPANY, DEFENDANT-APPELLANT, FOUNTAINS OF PLANTATION, MOVANT.



Appeals from the United States District Court for the Southern District of Florida. D.C. Docket No. 92-1949-CIV-SH. DISTRICT JUDGE: Highsmith, Shelby.

Before Cox, Circuit Judge, Hill and Garza,*fn* Senior Circuit Judges.

PER CURIAM

Charter Oak Fire Insurance Co. appeals the district court's grant of summary final judgment on both substantive and procedural grounds. Charter Oak contends that the district court made an error of law when it misconstrued a term in the insurance contract at issue in this case and granted summary judgment to Allan Stillman. Charter Oak also maintains, however, that the district court made a procedural error when it granted summary final judgment to Stillman, as there were other issues and defenses which should have survived and the grant of summary judgment should have been only partial. For the following reasons, we agree and dismiss this interlocutory appeal.*fn1

I. Background

Southeast Bank leased a building from Allan Stillman d/b/a Fountains of Plantations (Stillman). Pursuant to the lease, the bank was to procure insurance, naming Stillman as an additional insured. Charter Oak Fire Insurance Co. (Charter Oak) provided the insurance. The lease allowed Southeast Bank to construct improvements on the leased premises, which they did. When the improvements were completed, the bank began conducting business on the premises.

Some time later, certain bank employees sued Stillman and others for injuries allegedly sustained as a result of "high levels of contaminants" in the bank building. Southeast Bank vacated the building, and tests were conducted which revealed high levels of fungi, molds, and yeast.

Stillman claimed coverage under the insurance policy the bank had purchased from Charter Oak and filed a declaratory action to determine Charter Oak's duties under that policy. Charter Oak answered the complaint alleging seventeen affirmative defenses, including an exclusion of liability for damages caused by pollution, failure to comply with the notice requirement of the contract, and an exclusion for claims arising out of structural alterations.

Thereafter, Charter Oak moved for summary judgment on one of its defenses--the pollution exclusion clause. Stillman filed a cross-motion for summary judgment on this issue, attaching a statement of uncontested facts in support of its motion which set forth facts addressing only the pollution exclusion clause issue. The parties agreed that no facts were in dispute as to this issue, and that its resolution was solely a matter of law.

The district court, concluding that the pollution exclusion clause was ineffective, granted Stillman's motion and entered a summary final judgment, disposing of the case on the merits. Charter Oak sought relief under Rule 59(e) arguing that a final judgment was inappropriate as there remained other defenses to coverage not resolved by the cross-motions for summary judgment. Stillman moved for a declaration that Charter Oak owed it a duty to indemnify and attorneys' fees. The district court granted Stillman's motion, and denied Rule 59(e) relief to Charter Oak. This appeal ensued.

II. Analysis

The insurance policy purchased by the bank excluded coverage for claims relating to pollution injuries. The cross-motions for summary judgment asked the district court to rule whether, under the undisputed facts of this case, this pollution exclusion clause was legally effective to excuse Charter Oaks from liability for pollution-related claims.

Stillman's motion, however, stated that if the pollution exclusion clause should be found to have no legal effect, "coverage exists for this claim under the policy of insurance, and Summary Final Judgment should be entered for [Stillman]." Thus counseled, the district court entered a summary final judgment for Stillman.

Charter Oak's answer to Stillman's complaint, however, raised several affirmative defenses to liability under the policy other than the pollution exclusion clause. Each of these other defenses, if proved, would defeat Stillman's claim for indemnification. None of these other defenses was briefed by the cross-motions for summary judgment, nor resolved by the grant of summary judgment.*fn2

The parties themselves, in their Joint Status Report, recognized the partial nature of their cross-motions for summary judgment. In the status report, they identified three ...


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.