United States District Court, M.D. Georgia, Columbus Division
D. LAND, CHIEF U.S. DISTRICT COURT JUDGE.
Insurance Company (“Owners”) issued a car
insurance policy to Terrell Anderson. When he failed to pay
the premium, Owners canceled Anderson's policy. A few
days after the cancelation, Betty Stokes, while driving
Anderson's car, was involved in a wreck with Charles
Mims. After the wreck, Anderson got the Owners policy
reinstated, but he misrepresented that no accidents had
occurred involving the insured vehicle after the cancelation.
Mims eventually sued Anderson and Stokes in state court for
injuries arising from the wreck. Owners then filed this
action seeking a declaration that no coverage exists under
its policy, and thus it has no duty to defend or indemnify
Anderson or Stokes. Because it is undisputed that the policy
was properly canceled prior to the wreck and the policy was
reinstated based on Anderson's fraudulent
misrepresentations, the Court grants Owners' motion for
summary judgment (ECF No. 26).
judgment may be granted only “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). In determining whether a genuine
dispute of material fact exists to defeat a motion
for summary judgment, the evidence is viewed in the light
most favorable to the party opposing summary judgment,
drawing all justifiable inferences in the opposing
party's favor. Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc.,
477 U.S. 242, 255 (1986). A fact is material if it
is relevant or necessary to the outcome of the suit.
Id. at 248. A factual dispute is genuine if
the evidence would allow a reasonable jury to return a
verdict for the nonmoving party. Id. The nonmoving
party's failure to point to evidence that would allow a
reasonable jury to find in that party's favor on an
essential element of its claim renders all other facts
immaterial and entitles the moving party to judgment as a
matter of law. Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S.
317, 322-23 (1986).
did not respond to Owners' motion for summary judgment or
its statement of undisputed material facts. Therefore, the
facts in Owners' statement of material facts are deemed
admitted pursuant to Local Rule 56. Nonetheless, the Court
must still review Owners' citations to the record to
determine whether a genuine fact dispute exists. Mann v.
Taser Int'l, Inc., 588 F.3d 1291, 1303 (11th Cir.
2009). The materials submitted by Owners in support of its
motion for summary judgment establish the following:
September 3, 2015, Anderson met with Amanda Cooper, an
insurance agent at Culpepper Insurance Agency, and applied
for a car insurance policy from Owners. Cooper Aff.
¶¶ 2, 4-5, ECF No. 27-4. When he applied for the
policy, Anderson also paid his first month's premium
payment of $108.17. Id. ¶ 8. On September 16,
Owners issued Automobile Policy 50-472-508-00 with an
effective date of September 3, 2015 and termination date of
September 3, 2016. Ketcherside Aff. ¶ 4, ECF No. 27-1;
see also id. Ex. 1, Owners Ins. Policy 50-472-508-00
(Sept. 16, 2016) [hereinafter “Policy”]. Pursuant
to the policy, Owners agreed to “pay damages for bodily
injury and property damage for which you become legally
responsible because of . . . the ownership . . . of your
automobile[.]” Policy § II.1.a. The policy
required Anderson or any other person seeking coverage to
promptly furnish details about any accident to Owners and to
assist and cooperate with Owners in the investigation,
settlement, or defense of any claim or suit. Id.
§ V.1-2. The policy also provided that Owners
“will not cover any person seeking coverage under this
policy who has made fraudulent statements . . . with respect
to procurement of this policy or to any occurrence for which
coverage is sought.” Id. § VI.3.
did not make his next premium payment. Eveleth Aff.
¶¶ 5-7 & Ex. 1, ECF No. 27-3 (detailing credits
and debits for Anderson's policy and showing
Anderson's failure to pay September 25, 2015 premium
payment). Consequently, on October 27, 2015, Owners sent
Anderson a notice of cancellation, which explained that the
policy would be canceled on November 15. Ketcherside Aff.
¶ 6; id. Ex. 2, Notice of Cancellation (Oct.
28, 2015). Owners then canceled the policy on that date.
Ketcherside Aff. ¶ 6. On November 16, Mims and Stokes
were involved in a car accident. Pl.'s Mot. for Summ. J.
Ex. 7, Accident Report (Nov. 16, 2015), ECF No. 27-7. Stokes
was driving Anderson's car at the time of the accident.
days after the accident, Anderson contacted Cooper about
reinstating the policy. Cooper Aff. ¶ 10. Cooper then
contacted Owners about Anderson's request. Id.
¶ 11. Owners indicated that they would reinstate the
policy if Anderson signed a “No Loss Statement.”
Id. ¶ 12. Cooper explained this to Anderson.
Id. ¶¶ 15, 17. On November 23, Anderson
signed the following statement:
In consideration for the acceptance of my payment after the
time and date of cancellation 11/15/2015 at 12:01 a.m., I do
hereby certify that there have been no accidents, claims or
loses [sic] under my policy during the time of cancellation,
and I understand that Auto Owners Insurance Company is not
liable for any claims during this time.
Id. Ex. 3, Anderson No Loss Statement (Nov. 23,
2015). Cooper sent the statement to Owners. Cooper Aff.
¶ 21. In reliance on Anderson's statement and with
no knowledge of the accident, Owners then reinstated
Anderson's policy. Ketcherside Aff. ¶¶ 12,
made a claim to Owners based on the accident. One month after
the accident, Owners sent a letter to Anderson asking him to
contact Owners to discuss the claim. Adams Aff. ¶ 8, ECF
No. 27-2; id. Ex. 2, Letter from W. Adams to T.
Anderson (Dec. 15, 2015), ECF No. 27-2 at 37. Owners received
no response. Adams Aff. ¶ 10. In March 2016, Owners sent
Anderson a reservation of rights letter, but received no
response. Id. ¶¶ 11-13; id. Ex.
4, Letter from W. Adams to T. Anderson (Mar. 18, 2016), ECF
No. 27-2 at 40-45. Over the next four months, Owners'
counsel tried three times to schedule examinations under oath
and to obtain documents from Anderson and Stokes, but
received no response. Kahren Aff. ¶¶ 6-11, ECF No.
27-5. Owners' counsel then advised Anderson and Stokes
that their failures to communicate constituted breaches of
the policy and that Owners “could give no further
consideration to the claim until there has been full
compliance with these policy provisions.” Id.
¶ 12; see also id. Ex. 9, Letter from M. Kahren
to T. Anderson & B. Stokes (July 8, 2016), ECF No. 27-5
at 47-49. Mims sued Anderson and Stokes in state court in
September 2016. Compl. Ex. 1, Compl., Mims v.
Stokes, No. 16-CV-575 (State Ct. of Muscogee Cty. Sept.
16, 2016), ECF No. 1-2. Owners then sent supplemental
reservation of rights letters to Stokes and Anderson. Adams
Aff. ¶ 14. Owners received no response from Anderson or
Stokes. Id. ¶ 16. Neither Anderson nor Stokes
has communicated with Owners or its counsel. Kahren Aff.
then brought this action. Owners properly served Anderson
with process twice, but Anderson did not respond to the
complaint, did not file a responsive pleading, and is in
default. See Order Granting Pl.'s Mot. for Entry
of Default as to Def. Anderson, ECF No. 21. Stokes was served
by publication. She likewise has not responded to the
complaint or filed any responsive ...