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The Travelers Home and Marine Insurance Co. v. Thigpen

United States District Court, S.D. Georgia, Augusta Division

February 11, 2015

THE TRAVELERS HOME AND MARINE INSURANCE COMPANY, Plaintiff,
v.
RICHARD THIGPEN, DALTON DAY, RAYMOND R. MURPHY, JR., FRANK R. MURPHY, and WILLIAM E. MURPHY, Individually and as Personal Representative of the ESTATE OF AGATHA LOUISE MURPHY, Defendants.

ORDER

J. RANDAL HALL, District Judge.

Plaintiff, The Travelers Home and Marine Insurance Company ("Travelers"), filed the instant action seeking declaration from this Court that it has no obligation to defend Defendants Richard Thigpen ("Thigpen") and Dalton Day ("Day") in an underlying tort suit filed after Agatha Murphy ("Ms. Murphy") died in a fire at Thigpen's home. Now before the Court are cross motions for summary judgment filed by Day and Travelers. (Docs. 23 & 29.) These motions present a narrow issue for the Court's determination: whether Ms. Murphy was Thigpen's "relative" at the time of the fire. Because the Court finds she was, the Court GRANTS summary judgment in Travelers' favor.

I. BACKGROUND

On November 1, 2012, a fire occurred at Thigpen's home located at 8113 Sir Galahad Drive, Evans, Georgia, 30809. (Doc. 29, Ex. A at ¶ 3; Docs. 1, 9, 11, & 15 at ¶ 10.) The fire damaged Thigpen's home and, according to a lawsuit filed by Ms. Murphy's children, caused Ms. Murphy's death. (Docs. 29-2, 32, 35-1 at ¶ 7; Doc. 41; Doc. 1, Ex. A.) At all times relevant to the fire, Thigpen maintained a homeowner's insurance policy through Travelers. (Doc. 1, Compl. Ex. B.) ("the Travelers policy".) The Travelers policy set forth certain exclusions for personal liability, the terms of which are not in dispute. (Id. at 22.) In particular, the Travelers policy expressly excluded the following from coverage:

6. "Bodily injury" to you or an "insured" as defined in Definitions 7.a or b.
This exclusion also applies to any claim or suit brought against you or an "insured":
a. To repay; or
b. Share damages with;
Another person who may be obligated to pay damages because of "bodily injury" to an "insured[.]"

(Id.) Both "bodily injury" and "insured" are defined in the policy as follows:

2. "Bodily injury" means bodily harm, sickness or disease, including required care, loss of services and death that results.
7. "Insured" means:
a. You and residents of your household who are:
(1) Your relatives; or
(2) Other persons under ...

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