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LEGION INDEMNITY CO. v. CARESTATE AMBULANCE INC.
May 3, 2001
LEGION INDEMNITY COMPANY, PLAINTIFF
CARESTATE AMBULANCE, INC., SLAWOMIR CIELOSZCYK, RUSLAN ILEHUK, IVAN TKACH, STAR TECHNICAL INSTITUTE, INC., RALPH BESWICK, JR., ROSE WIEGAND, GREGORY SVERDLEV, DEFENDANTS.
The opinion of the court was delivered by: Giles, C.J.
Legion Indemnity Company ("Legion"), brings this action against its
insured, CareStat Ambulance, Inc. and its employees Slawomir Cieloczyk,
Gregory Sverdlev, Ruslan Ilehuk, and Ivan Tkach (collectively
"CareStat"), and the underlying claimants Ralph Mr. Beswick, Jr. ("Mr.
Beswick"), and Rose Wiegand ("Ms. Wiegand"), for a declaratory judgment
regarding an insurance policy that Legion sold to CareStat. Legion seeks
a declaration of its coverage with respect to an underlying action that
Mr. Beswick and Ms. Wiegand have brought against CareStat in Estate of
Beswick v. City of Philadelphia, No. 00-CV-1304 (E.D.Pa. filed April 20,
2000) ("Second Amended Complaint").
Mr. Beswick and Ms. Wiegand seek a declaratory judgment as to Legion's
duty to defend CareStat, and a declaration that it is premature for this
court to rule on the issue of indemnification. Legion seeks a declaration
as to the potential amount that Legion would have to indemnify CareStat
if CareStat were to be found liable, a declaration of what claims alleged
by Mr. Beswick and Ms. Wiegand are potentially covered by the Legion
General Policy and its Addenda, and a declaration as to what provisions
of Legion's General Policy or its Addenda are implicated by Mr. Beswick
and Ms. Wiegand's claims. These declaratory requests are ripe for
decision since the proper declaratory relief can be determined by a plain
reading of the provisions of the insurance policy and the allegations in
the complaint in the underlying case.
For the reasons stated below, Mr. Beswick and Ms. Wiegand's Motion for
Summary Judgment will be denied and Legion's Cross-Motion for Summary
Judgment will be granted. A declaration that there is a duty by Legion to
defend CareStat is not necessary at this time. Legion has tendered an
on-going defense of CareStat and is not contesting its duty to defend.*fn2
(Pl.'s Reply Br. in Supp. of its Cross-Mot. for Summ. J. at 2.)
The factual background of the underlying case is outlined in detail in
Beswick v. City of Philadelphia, No. CIV.A.00-1304, 2001 WL 210292
(E.D.Pa. March 1, 2001), and the court only relates the facts as
necessary for an understanding of the declaratory judgement action. Mr.
Beswick and Ms. Wiegand, Co-Administrators of the Estate of Ralph
Beswick, Sr., have brought a federal and state tort action against many
These claims all arise from the death of Ralph Beswick, Sr. on February
11, 2000. On that date he collapsed on the floor of his home. Ms. Wiegand
dialed 911 and told the dispatcher, Julia Rodriguez ("Ms. Rodriguez"),
that he needed urgent assistance and requested an ambulance. It is
alleged that Ms. Rodriguez then chose to violate an established
regulation that requires 911 operators to refer all emergency medical
calls to the Fire Department, which then dispatches Fire Rescue Units
appropriately equipped and staffed to respond to such emergencies. She
called a private ambulance company with which she worked in her off-duty
hours rather than entering the details of the call into the City's Fire
Department emergency response system.
About ten minutes after the first 911 call had been made, because there
was yet no emergency vehicle at the Beswicks' home, Ms. Wiegand's sister
called 911 again, at 8:02 p.m., to ask whether rescue services had
already been dispatched to the Beswicks' address. This call was also
received and handled by Ms. Rodriguez. Despite this second urgent call,
Ms. Rodriguez still did not enter the call into the City's emergency
dispatch system. She relied upon a belief that CareStat was on the way to
the Beswicks' home as Mr. Cieloszcyk had promised. After a third call by
Ms. Wiegand was handled by another dispatcher and a Fire department
paramedic unit was dispatched, Ms. Rodriguez called Mr. Cieloszcyk at
CareStat and told him that a City paramedic unit was responding to the
Beswick home, and requested that he hide her involvement in the
mishandling of the Beswick 911 calls. CareStat did not render any
first-aid to Ralph Beswick, Sr. on the night of his death.
Only the state negligence claims against CareStat and its owners
and employees are relevant for this declaratory judgment action.
Legion had issued a general liability insurance policy, GL10552323, to
CareStat for the policy period January 11, 2000 to January 11, 2001 and
Legion has been providing CareStat with an on-going defense in the
underlying case. Legion seeks a declaration of its potential coverage if
CareStat were to be found liable to Mr. Beswick and Ms. Wiegand.
The General Policy, GL10552323, that Legion issued to CareStat
contains the following relevant provisions:
a. We will pay those sums that the insured becomes
legally obligated to pay as damages because of
"bodily injury" or "property damage" to which the
insurance applies . . . (General Policy Section I.
Coverages A. 1a.)
b. This insurance applies to "bodily injury" and
"property damage" only if:
(1) The "bodily injury" or "property damage" is
caused by an "occurrence" that takes place in the
"coverage territory . . ." (General Policy Section
I. Coverages A. b(1).)
a. "Bodily injury" means bodily injury, sickness or
disease sustained by a person, including death
resulting from any of these at any time. (General
Policy Section V. 3.)
b. "Occurrence" means an accident, including
continuous or repeated exposure to substantially the
same general harmful conditions. (General Policy
Section V. 12.)
a. This insurance does not ...