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Landmark American Insurance Co. v. Vo Remarketing Corp.

United States District Court, D. Colorado

June 13, 2014

LANDMARK AMERICAN INSURANCE COMPANY, Plaintiff,
v.
VO REMARKETING CORP., and KAYE LAURA TIBBE, Defendants.

ORDER GRANTING PLAINTIFF'S MOTION FOR JUDGMENT ON THE PLEADINGS

WILLIAM J. MARTÍNEZ, District Judge.

Plaintiff Landmark American Insurance Company ("Plaintiff") brings this action for declaratory relief against VO Remarketing Corp. ("VO") and Kaye Laura Tibbe ("Tibbe"), arising out of an accident that occurred on November 2, 2012. (ECF No. 1.) This matter is before the Court on Plaintiff's Motion for Judgment on the Pleadings (the "Motion for Judgment") (ECF No. 32), and VO's Motion to Amend Counterclaims and Add a Request for Exemplary Damages (the "Motion to Amend") (ECF No. 63). For the reasons set forth below, the Motion for Judgment is granted and the Motion to Amend is denied.

I. BACKGROUND

Plaintiff, an insurance company, issued a Commercial General Liability Policy to VO, which was effective from January 18, 2012 to January 18, 2013 (the "Landmark Policy"). (ECF No. 1-2.)

During the effective period of the Landmark Policy, Tibbe purchased a "Step Mill 7000 PT Stairmaster" (the "Stairmaster") from VO. (ECF No. 33-1-A ¶ 8.) On or about November 2, 2012, VO delivered the Stairmaster to Tibbe's residence. ( Id. ) As two VO employees were attempting to maneuver the Stairmaster to Tibbe's second story loft, they lost control of the Stairmaster at the crest of the stairs. ( Id. ) The Stairmaster cascaded down the flight of stairs and crushed Tibbe (the "Accident"). ( Id. ) Tibbe sustained multiple injuries from the Accident. ( Id. )

Tibbe filed a lawsuit against VO in the Weld County District Court, Colorado, seeking damages for the injuries she sustained from the Accident (the "Underlying Lawsuit"). ( Id. ) Tibbe provided Plaintiff with a copy of the complaint filed in the Underlying Lawsuit. (ECF No. 46 at 4.)

After receiving the complaint, Plaintiff initiated this action for declaratory relief on May 29, 2013, seeking a declaration that it does not owe a duty to defend or indemnify VO in the Underlying Lawsuit. (ECF No. 1.) On August 13, 2013, VO filed an Answer and Counterclaim (ECF No. 25), and Tibbe filed an Answer (ECF No. 26). On August 29, 2013, Plaintiff filed an Answer to VO's Counterclaims. (ECF No. 30.) On October 10, 2013, VO filed an Amended Counterclaim. (ECF No. 41.) On October 16, 2013, Plaintiff filed an Answer to VO's Amended Counterclaim. (ECF No. 44.)

On September 19, 2013, Plaintiff filed its Motion for Judgment on the Pleadings, requesting that the Court, pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(c), enter judgment in its favor as to Count I of its Complaint. (ECF No. 32.) On October 21, 2013, VO filed a Response to the Motion for Judgment, arguing that judgment on the pleadings is unwarranted because: (1) the Landmark Policy is ambiguous and defeats VO's reasonable expectations as an insured; (2) material factual allegations are disputed; and (3) Tibbe's complaint triggered Plaintiff's duty to defend VO in the Underlying Lawsuit. (ECF No. 46 at 5-15.) On November 4, 2013, Plaintiff filed a Reply to the Motion for Judgment. (ECF No. 47.)

On May 30, 2014, VO filed the Motion to Amend Counterclaims and Add a Request for Exemplary Damages. (ECF No. 63.) Plaintiff filed a Response on June 6, 2014, and VO filed a Reply on June 10, 2014. (ECF No. 68.)

The Motion for Judgment and Motion to Amend are now ripe for resolution.

II. STANDARD OF REVIEW

A motion for judgment on the pleadings brought pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure12(c) is reviewed under a similar standard as a motion brought pursuant to Rule 12(b)(6). Therefore, in ruling on a motion for judgment on the pleadings, courts should look to the specific allegations of the complaint to determine whether they plausibly support a legal claim for relief - that is, a complaint must include "enough facts to state a claim for relief that is plausible on its face." TON Servs., Inc. v. Qwest Corp., 493 F.3d 1225, 1236 (10th Cir. 2007) (internal citation omitted); Alvarado v. KOB-TV, LLC, 493 F.3d 1210, 1215 (10th Cir. 2007). The Court accepts as true the well-pled factual allegations of the opposing party and draws all reasonable inferences in his favor. See Qwest Commc'ns Corp. v. City of Berkeley, 208 F.R.D. 288, 291 (N.D. Cal. 2002). "Uncontested allegations to which the other party had an opportunity to respond are taken as true." Id.

Further, "[j]udgment on the pleadings should not be granted unless the moving party clearly established that no material issue of fact remains to be resolved and the party is entitled to judgment as a matter of law." Park Univ. Enters., Inc. v. Am. Cas. Co., 442 F.3d 1239, 1244 (10th Cir. 2006) (internal citation omitted); Qwest, 208 F.R.D. at 291 (holding that judgment on the pleadings is appropriate where the Answer fails to raise issues of fact or affirmative defenses "which, if proved, would defeat plaintiff's recovery"). In ruling on a motion for judgment on the pleadings, the Court may consider the Complaint, any material that is attached to the Complaint, and the Answer. See Park Univ., 442 F.3d at 1244; Qwest, 208 F.R.D. at 291. The allegations in Plaintiff's Complaint "must be taken as true to the extent they are ...


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