United States District Court, D. Colorado
OPINION AND ORDER DENYING MOTION TO REMAND AND
GRANTING MOTION TO DISMISS
S. KRIEGER, CHIEF UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
MATTERS come before the Court pursuant to Mr.
Salls' Motion to Remand (#36) in the
-370 case, Secura Insurance's (“Secura”)
response (# 37), and Mr. Salls' reply
(#39); Mr. Salls' Motion to Dismiss
(# 20) in the -1825 case, Secura's
response (# 30), and Mr. Salls' reply
(# 33); Secura's Motion for Summary
Judgment (# 21) in the -1825 case, Mr.
Salls' response (# 32), and Secura's
reply (# 36); and Secura's Motion to
Amend the Complaint (# 34) in the -1825
case, Mr. Salls' response (# 37), and
Secura's reply (# 38).
captioned cases arise from the same underlying event. On May
6, 2016, Mr. Slaugh was a spectator at the Western Slope
Motor Sports Festival (“the Festival”) in Grand
Junction, Colorado. During a “mud racing event, ”
a piece of a competitor James Salls' vehicle became
dislodged and airborne. It struck Mr. Slaugh in the arm,
causing injury. Thereafter, Mr. Slaugh commenced an action in
the Colorado District Court for Mesa County, asserting claims
sounding in statutory premises liability against the Festival
and common-law negligence against Mr. Salls. The Festival
cross-claimed against Mr. Salls, invoking a contractual
agreement by which Mr. Salls promised to indemnify the
Festival against losses that resulted from Mr. Salls'
participation in the event.
Salls contacted Secura, the Festival's insurer, claiming
that he should be treated as an additional insured under the
Festival's policy and demanding that Secura provide him a
defense and indemnification in Mr. Slaugh's suit against
him. Secura refused. Mr. Salls then moved in the Mesa County
action to add Secura as a third-party defendant to assert
claims for breach of insurance contract, among others.
meantime, Secura commenced Civil Action 17-cv-1825 in this
Court, seeking a declaration that its policy with the
Festival did not cover claims against Mr. Salls (“the
declaratory judgment action”).
Mesa County court eventually granted Ms. Salls' motion to
assert third-party claims against Secura. Secura then moved
in the Mesa County case to sever Mr. Salls' claims
against it - i.e. the claims seeking coverage under
the Festival's policy - from Mr. Slaugh's negligence
claims. On January 30, 2018, the Mesa County court granted
the motion, severing the third-party claims. Because
severance of the third-party claim removed the non-diverse
parties (Mr. Slaugh and the Festival) from the action, Secura
then removed the claims against it to this Court, citing
subject-matter jurisdiction premised upon diversity. That
case became Civil Action 18-cv-370 (“the removed
action”) in this Court.
The Instant Motions
removed action, Mr. Salls promptly moved (#
36) to remand the claims back to the Mesa County
court, arguing: (i) the Notice of Removal was untimely, as it
was the commencement of the third-party claims against
Secura, and not their severance, that triggered the 30-day
deadline to remove; and (ii) that both the removed action and
the declaratory action involve issues that were being
considered by the Mesa County court and that this Court
“should not entertain” the actions in deference
to the Mesa County action.
in the declaratory judgment action, Mr. Salls moved
(# 20) to dismiss Secura's claim,
arguing: (i) that the claims regarding coverage would be
resolved in the Mesa County action, (ii) that the Court
should exercise its discretion to decline to hear
Secura's declaratory judgment claim in deference to the
Mesa County proceeding; and (iii) in the alternative, the
Court should compel Secura to tender a defense to Mr. Salls
and stay the declaratory proceeding until the Mesa County
the declaratory judgment action, Secura moves (#
21) for summary judgment, seeking a determination
that, as a matter of law, Mr. Salls is not an insured under
the Festival's policy. Secura has also moved (#
34) in the declaratory judgment action to amend its
Complaint to clarify an alternative basis upon which Secura
disputed coverage as to Mr. Salls.