TRAVELERS PROPERTY CASUALTY COMPANY OF AMERICA, Plaintiff - Appellant,
JUSTIN MAURICE MOORE, WILLIE THACKSTON, THE ESTATE OF BRANDON THOMAS, BRANDY THOMAS, surviving spouse of Brandon Thomas, deceased, Defendants - Appellees
Appeal from the United States District Court for the Northern District of Georgia. D.C. Docket No. 1:11-cv-00236-AT.
For Travelers Property Casualty Company of America, Plaintiff - Appellant: David M. Atkinson, Ariel E. Shapiro, Magill Atkinson Dermer, LLP, Atlanta, GA.
For Willie Thackston, Defendant - Appellee: Michael D. Goodman, Goodman & Goodman, LLP, Atlanta, GA.
For The Estate of Brandon Thomas, BRANDY THOMAS, surviving spouse of Brandon Thomas, deceased, Defendants -- Appellees: Vincent R. Lauria, Law Office of Vincent R. Lauria, Atlanta, GA.
Before JORDAN, Circuit Judge, and BARTLE,[*] and BERMAN,[**] District Judges.
BARTLE, District Judge:
Plaintiff Travelers Property Casualty Company of America (" Travelers" ) seeks a declaratory judgment that there is no coverage for and thus no duty to indemnify defendant Justin Maurice Moore (" Moore" ) under his employer's commercial automobile insurance policy (Travelers Policy No. TC2JCAP-101D6235) for an incident which is the subject of underlying tort actions pending in the Georgia state court. See 28 U.S.C. § § 1332(a) and 2201. In those actions, Moore is being sued for killing Brandon Thomas (" Thomas" ) and wounding Willie Thackston (" Thackston" ) with a shotgun while Moore was chasing
them in his employer's van as they were in the process of repossessing Moore's car. Moore, Thackston, the Estate of Brandon Thomas, and Thomas's surviving spouse, Brandy Thomas, all parties in the state court actions, are the defendants here.
The District Court first granted partial summary judgment in favor of the defendants and against Travelers. It determined as a matter of law that Moore had permission to use the van at the time of the incident and thus was an insured under the policy. It then found, after a non-jury trial, that the death of Thomas and shooting of Thackston was an " accident" as that term is used in the Travelers policy and that Moore neither " expected" nor " intended" Thomas's death or Thackston's injuries. As a result of these decisions, the District Court declared that coverage existed. Judgment was entered accordingly in favor of the defendants and against Travelers, and Travelers has now appealed.
The decision of a district court on summary judgment is reviewed de novo. Layton v. DHL Express (USA), Inc., 686 F.3d 1172, 1175 (11th Cir. 2012). 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); see also Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 323, 106 S.Ct. 2548, 91 L.Ed.2d 265 (1986). When ruling on a motion for summary judgment, " we resolve all ambiguities and draw reasonable factual inferences from the evidence in the non-movant's favor." Layton, 686 F.3d at 1175 (citing Rice-Lamar v. City of Fort Lauderdale, 232 F.3d 836, 840 (11th Cir. 2000)).
With regard to the bench trial, we review the District Court's findings of fact on a clear error standard and its conclusions of law de novo. Crystal Entm't & Filmworks, Inc. v. Jurado, 643 F.3d 1313, 1319 (11th Cir. 2011). " Under the clear error standard, we may reverse the district court's findings of fact if, after viewing all the evidence, we are left with the definite and firm conviction that a mistake has been committed." Id. at 1319-20 (internal quotation marks omitted).
The facts relevant to this appeal are largely undisputed. On November 12, 2009, Thackston and Thomas arrived at Moore's home in Atlanta in a tow truck seeking to repossess Moore's personal vehicle, a Ford Mustang. The Mustang was parked in the driveway along with a van ...