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Progressive Mountain Insurance Co. v. McCallister

United States District Court, S.D. Georgia

May 2, 2018

PROGRESSIVE MOUNTAIN INSURANCE COMPANY, Petitioner,
v.
RICKY MCCALLISTER, NIKKI MCCALISTERR, CYNTHIA EVANS, MARVIN PLATT, DANIEL TURNER, EASTER SEALS OF SOUTHERN GEORGIA, INC., DEBORAH BARNARD, and JACK WILLIAMS, Respondents.

          ORDER

          HON. LISA GODBEY WOOD, JUDGE

         This matter comes before the Court on Petitioner Progressive Mountain Insurance Company's ("Progressive") Motion for Summary Judgment. Dkt. No. 44. Respondents failed to respond. (And the deadline to do so has passed.) This Motion is ripe for review. For the following reasons, this Motion is GRANTED.

         BACKGROUND FACTS

         Respondent Ricky McCallister had a vehicle collision on March 2, 2016 ("the collision"). Progressive had previously issued him an automobile insurance policy ("the Policy"). Dkt. No. 44-3. This case presents the question of Progressive's insurance obligation to McCallister.

         I. The Collision

         Ricky McCallister ("McCallister") was doing subcontract work for Pierce County Auto as a mechanic on March 2, 2016. Dkt. No. 44-4 12:12-13:8; 15:14-18. McCallister performed the work through his business, Best Bet Auto Repair ("Best Bet"). Id. 18:18-25; 19:11-22. The arrangement was as follows: if Pierce County Auto ("the repair shop") needed a vehicle repaired, McCallister would repair it, and Pierce County Auto would make payment to Best Bet. Id. 19:11-22.

         Pursuant to this arrangement, McCallister was assigned the job of repairing Respondent Jack Williams' 1997 Camaro Z28 ("the Camaro"). Id. 24:2-6. Several months before the subject accident, the Camaro was brought into the repair shop so the engine could be rebuilt, and the job was assigned to McCallister. Id. 24:18-25; 25:1-8. After McCallister finished rebuilding the engine but while it still remained at the repair shop, the engine started leaking oil. Id. 24:14-20; 25:13-18; 32:3-9. On March 2, 2016, McCallister performed more engine repairs, planning to repair and reseal the engine and take it for a test drive. Id. Mr. McCallister's wife, Nikki McCallister, arrived at the repair shop that same day to go to lunch with her husband. Id. 27:16-25. So that he could give the Camaro a test drive, Mr. McCallister decided to drive it to lunch. Id. Specifically, he testified that he test drove the Camaro to lunch in order "to make sure it wasn't going to leak." Id. 27:21-22.

         While test driving the car to lunch with his wife, McCallister caused a collision with the rear of a Ford E-350 Super Duty, driven by Respondent Cynthia Evans and owned by Respondent Easter Seals of Southern Georgia. Dkt. No. 44-5; Dkt. Nos. 1/5 ¶¶ 17-18. The initial collision caused the Camaro to leave the roadway, travel through a ditch, and collide with an unoccupied vehicle, a 2008 Dodge Avenger owned by Respondent Deborah Barnard, that was parked in a private driveway. Dkt. No. 44-5.

         Progressive filed the present action on October 12, 2016, seeking a declaration from the Court regarding its duty to provide coverage, medical payments, indemnification, or a defense for the bodily injury and property damage claims related to the March 2, 2016 collision. Dkt. No. 1.

         II. The Policy

         The Policy provides insurance coverage for liability to others, collision, and medical payments coverage. The liability coverage includes "damages for bodily injury and property damage for which an'insured person becomes legally responsible because of an accident." Dkt. No. 44-3, p. 3. The medical payments coverage includes "the reasonable expenses incurred for necessary medical services received within three years from the date of a motor vehicle accident because of bodily injury." Id., p. 7. The collision coverage includes sudden, direct, and accidental loss to a covered auto or a "non-owned auto" defined as an "auto that is not owned by or furnished or available for the regular use of you, a relative, or a rated resident while in the custody of or being operated by you, a relative, or a rated resident with the permission of the owner of the auto or the person in lawful possession of the auto." Id., p. 17, 20.

         All three types of coverage have an auto business exclusion. Specifically, the liability coverage excludes from coverage "bodily injury or property damage arising out of an accident involving any vehicle while being maintained or used by a person while employed or engaged in any auto business. This exclusion does not apply to you . . . when using a covered auto." Id., p. 4. The medical payment coverage has the exact same exclusion-that is, it does not apply to "bodily injury arising out of an accident involving a vehicle while being maintained or used by a person while employed or engaged in any auto business. This exclusion does not apply to you . . . when using a covered auto." Id., p. 8. The collision coverage has a similar exclusion. It does not apply for loss "to a non-owned auto while being maintained or used by a person while employed or engaged in any auto business." Id., p. 17. (It does not have the additional language limiting the exclusion shared by the liability and medical payments exclusions for auto business.) All three define "auto business" to mean the business of selling, leasing, repairing, parking, storing, servicing, delivering or testing vehicles. Id., p. 1.

         LEGAL STANDARD

         Summary judgment is required where "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). A fact is "material" if it "might affect the outcome of the suit under the governing law." FindWhat Inv' r Grp. v. FindWhat.com, 658 F.3d 1282, 1307 (11th Cir. 2011) (quoting Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 248 (1986)). A dispute is "genuine" if the "evidence is such that a reasonable jury could return a verdict for the nonmoving party." Id. In making this determination, the court is to view all of the evidence in the light most favorable to the nonmoving party and draw ...


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