Justia Insurance Law Opinion SummariesArticles Posted in Maine Supreme Judicial Court
Yankee Pride Transportation & Logistics, Inc. v. UIG, Inc.
The Supreme Judicial Court affirmed the summary judgment entered in the business and consumer court in favor of UIG, Inc. on Yankee Pride Transportation and Logistics, Inc.'s claims of negligence, breach of contract, and breach of fiduciary duty, holding that there was no genuine issue of material fact as to causation.On appeal, Yankee Pride argued that it had an implied contract with UIG based on the parties' relationship and that UIG breached that contract by failing to make timely efforts to renew Yankee Pride's policy. The Supreme Judicial Court disagreed, holding that Yankee Pride's failure to offer competent evidence of causation precluded a prima facie showing on any of its claims, whether they sounded in contract, tort, or breach of fiduciary duty. View "Yankee Pride Transportation & Logistics, Inc. v. UIG, Inc." on Justia Law
Desgrosseilliers v. Auburn Sheet Metal
The Supreme Judicial Court affirmed the decision of the appellate division of the Workers' Compensation Board affirming the decision of an administrative law judge (ALJ) granting Plaintiff's petition for award of compensation, holding that an employee is not required to give notice of his occupational disease claim to his former employer's insurer when the employer no longer exists.Nearly twenty years after retiring from his employment Plaintiff underwent surgery for lung cancer and was later diagnosed with asbestosis. Plaintiff filed five petitions for award of compensation, each alleging a different date of injury and naming and different employer and insurer pairing. The ALJ (1) found that Plaintiff's last injurious exposure to asbestos occurred when he was working for Auburn Sheet Metal, which was insured by Maine Employers' Mutual Insurance Company (MEMIC) but no longer existed, and (2) granted Plaintiff's petition for an award of compensation. The appellate division concluded that Plaintiff was not required to provide notice to MEMIC. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the appellate division did not err in concluding that the workers' compensation statute does not impose on an injured employee whose employer no longer exists the duty to give notice to the insurer. View "Desgrosseilliers v. Auburn Sheet Metal" on Justia Law
Concord General Mutual Insurance Co. v. Estate of Collette J. Boure
The Supreme Judicial Court affirmed the judgment of the superior court in this insurance dispute, holding that the superior court properly entered summary judgment in favor of 21st Century Centennial Insurance Company and 21st Century Insurance and Financial Services, Inc. (collectively, 21st Century).Collette Boure and Alexander Meyers took the car of Nancy Snow, Meyers's great aunt, and fled Maine to begin a drive across the country. While the teenage couple was in Oklahoma, they crashed in a chase with police, resulting in Boure's death. Boure's Estate sought uninsured motorist coverage from Concord General Mutual Insurance Company (Concord) on a personal auto policy issued to him and from 21st Century on a personal auto policy issued to Meyers's great aunt. After both insurers denied coverage Concord brought a declaratory judgment action against the Estate. The Estate counterclaimed against Concord and brought a separate action against 21 Century. The court granted summary judgments in favor of Concord and 21st Century. The Supreme Judicial Court affirmed, holding (1) the Estate's appeal of the summary judgment in favor of Concord was untimely; and (2) the court properly entered summary judgment in favor of 21st Century. View "Concord General Mutual Insurance Co. v. Estate of Collette J. Boure" on Justia Law
Progressive Northwest Insurance Co. v. Metropolitan Property & Casualty Insurance Co.
The Supreme Judicial Court affirmed the superior court's summary judgment entered in favor of Metropolitan Property and Casualty Insurance Company as to Progressive Northwest Insurance Company's complaint seeking indemnification for a portion of a final settlement paid involving a mutually-insured party, Vincent Micale, holding that there was no error.Micale rented two jet skis from Jet Ski Guys, Inc. (JSG). Two individuals listed on Micale's rental agreement collided while operating the jet skis, resulting in injuries to one individual. At the time of the accident, Progressive provided a boat and personal watercraft liability insurance policy to Micale, and Metropolitan provided homeowner insurance to Micale. JSG filed a complaint alleging that Micale and others were negligent in the operation of the jet skis. The injured individual filed a cross-claim against Micale. In a settlement, Progressive agreed to pay $300,000 to the injured individual on Micale's behalf. Progressive then sued Metropolitan, arguing that Metropolitan had a duty to indemnify Micale for half the amount that Progressive had paid to the injured individual. The court entered judgment in Metropolitan's favor. The Supreme Judicial Court affirmed, holding that the plain meaning of Metropolitan's policy did not provide coverage for injuries arising out of the use of the watercraft involved in the accident. View "Progressive Northwest Insurance Co. v. Metropolitan Property & Casualty Insurance Co." on Justia Law
Corinth Pellets, LLC v. Arch Specialty Insurance Co.
The Supreme Judicial Court vacated the judgment of the superior court dismissing for failure to state a claim Corinth Pellets, LLC's complaint alleging that a fire loss at Corinth's wood pellet mill was covered under a commercial property insurance policy issued by Arch, holding that the superior court erred in its interpretation of Maine's surplus lines insurance law, Me. Rev. Stat. 24-A, 2009-A.On appeal, Corinth argued that the fire loss was covered under the policy, despite having occurred after the policy term had expired, because Arch failed notify Corinth of its intention not to renew the policy as required by section 2009-A, and therefore, the policy was automatically renewed at the end of the term. The Supreme Judicial Court vacated the judgment, holding that section 2009-A(1) requires a surplus lines insurer to give written notice of its intent either to cancel a policy or not to renew a policy at least fourteen days before the effective date of cancellation or nonrenewal. View "Corinth Pellets, LLC v. Arch Specialty Insurance Co." on Justia Law
Bibeau v. Concord General Mutual Insurance Co.
The Supreme Judicial Court affirmed the summary judgment entered by the superior court in favor of Concord General Mutual Insurance Company on Arthur Bibeau's complaint for alleged breaches and violations of the homeowner's insurance policy issued to him by Concord, holding that the policy did not unambiguously exclude from coverage losses caused by earth movement.Bibeau insured his home through a policy issued to him by Concord. Bibeau submitted a notice of claim to Concord alleging that his home was damaged by a water line leak that pushed sand and other material under the foundation of his home. Concord denied the claim based on the policy's earth movement exclusion and its anti-concurrent-causation clause. Bibeau then brought this action. The superior court granted summary judgment for Concord on all counts. The Supreme Judicial Court affirmed, holding that the superior court did not err in determining that the policy was unambiguous and that Bibeau's losses were excluded from coverage pursuant to the earth movement exclusion. View "Bibeau v. Concord General Mutual Insurance Co." on Justia Law
Haskell v. State Farm Fire & Casualty Co.
The Supreme Judicial Court affirmed the decision of the superior court entering summary judgment in favor of State Farm Fire and Casualty Company on the complaint filed by Plaintiffs seeking to reach and apply the State Farm vehicle insurance coverage of a man found jointly and severally liable to Plaintiffs for damages, holding that the facts did not bring Plaintiffs' damages within the policy's coverage.Grover Bragg was driving a truck insured by State Farm to transport an intoxicated and delusional friend when the friend jumped out of the truck, broke into Plaintiffs' house, damaged property, and assaulted one of the plaintiffs. Plaintiffs brought a complaint against Bragg, alleging negligence, and against Bragg's friend. The court concluded that Bragg and his friend were jointly and severally liable to Plaintiffs and awarded damages. The Supreme Court affirmed. Plaintiffs then commenced the present action seeking to reach and apply Bragg's vehicle insurance policy and to obtain a declaratory judgment that the coverage applied. The court entered summary judgment for State Farm. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the injuries and property damage suffered by Plaintiffs were not causally connected to the vehicle use in a way that brought them within the insurance coverage. View "Haskell v. State Farm Fire & Casualty Co." on Justia Law
National Wrecker, Inc. v. Progressive Casualty Insurance Co.
The Supreme Judicial Court affirmed the judgment of the superior court granting Progressive Casualty Insurance Company's motion for summary judgment and denying National Wrecker, Inc.'s (NWI) summary judgment motion, holding that a judgment obtained by NWI against Fred Muluya, Progressive's insured, was not covered by Muluya's automobile insurance contract.After an accident involving Muluya's truck NWI filed a complaint against Muluya seeking payment of its invoice for towing fees, storage fees, and costs associated with clean-up of the accident. The superior court awarded NWI $26,540 in total damages. Muluya carried a commercial auto insurance policy with Progressive. NWI filed a claim against Progressive seeking recovery of the judgment it obtained against Muluya. The superior court granted Progressive's motion for summary judgment, concluding that the policy did not cover NWI's judgment. The Supreme Judicial Court affirmed, holding that Progressive was entitled to judgment as a matter of law because NWI did not establish that its judgment against Muluya was for covered damage. View "National Wrecker, Inc. v. Progressive Casualty Insurance Co." on Justia Law
Vermont Mutual Insurance Co. v. Ben-Ami
At issue was the availability of homeowner’s liability insurance coverage for damages resulting from injuries Jonathan Ben-Ami received after Joshua Francoeur, a fellow high-school student, punched Ben-Ami a number of times in the face.Francoeur was the son of the named insured under a policy issued by Vermont Mutual Insurance Company. The superior court entered a declaratory judgment determining that Francoeur’s tortious conduct did not fall within a policy exclusion from coverage for bodily injury that is “expected or intended,” and therefore, that Ben-Ami was entitled to indemnification under the policy. The Supreme Judicial Court vacated the judgment and remanded for entry of judgment for Vermont Mutual, holding that Francoeur’s specific conduct established that the damages he inflicted on Ben-Ami were “expected” and therefore excluded from coverage by the Vermont Mutual policy. View "Vermont Mutual Insurance Co. v. Ben-Ami" on Justia Law
Estate of Carroll G. Frye v. MMG Insurance Co.
The Supreme Judicial Court vacated the judgment of the superior court entering summary judgment in favor of Curtis Frye, Daryl Frye, and the Estate of Carroll Frye (collectively, the Estate) on the Estate’s action seeking enforcement of a property insurance contract for the loss of a dwelling by fire. The Court held that the trial court erred by interpreting Carroll’s insurance contract with MMG Insurance Company as providing coverage to the Estate because when the fire occurred, several weeks after Carroll’s death, none of the parties was both insured by MMG and in possession of an insurable interest. Therefore, Me. Rev. Stat. 24-A, 2406 preluded enforcement of the policy as to the dwelling as a matter of law. The Court remanded the case for entry of a summary judgment in favor of MMG. View "Estate of Carroll G. Frye v. MMG Insurance Co." on Justia Law