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Continental Insurance Co. v. Kovach

August 14, 2007

CONTINENTAL INSURANCE CO., PLAINTIFF,
v.
NANCY J. KOVACH, TROYE KOVACH, REBECCA RICHTER VILLA AND NICHOLAS VILLA, HER HUSBAND, DEFENDANTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Conti, District Judge.

MEMORANDUM ORDER

In this memorandum order, the court considers the cross-motions for summary judgment filed by plaintiff Continental Insurance Company ("plaintiff"), (Doc. No. 39), and by defendants Rebecca Richter Villa ("Rebecca Villa") and Nicholas Villa (collectively, the "Villa defendants"), (Doc. No. 46), with respect this declaratory judgment action. After considering the submissions of the parties, the court will grant plaintiff's motion for summary judgment and deny the Villa defendants' motion for summary judgment for the reasons set forth herein.

Factual Background

The material facts of this case are not seriously disputed. On or about September 22, 2004, defendants Villa filed a civil complaint in the Court of Common Pleas of Allegheny County, Pennsylvania, against defendant Troye Kovach alleging, among other things, that on June 21, 2003, or thereabout, Troye Kovach furnished a bottle of liquor to Christopher Hutchinson ("Hutchinson"), a minor; that on the evening of June 24, 2003, through the early morning of June 25, 2003, Hutchinson consumed that liquor to the point of intoxication; that after consuming the liquor, Hutchinson proceeded to operate his automobile; and that this resulted in a collision between Hutchinson's vehicle and defendant Rebecca Villa's vehicle which seriously injured Rebecca Villa. Pl.'s Ex. A.; Defs.' Ex. A (the "Villa Complaint").*fn1

The Villa Complaint specifically alleged:

3. On June 21, 2003, or thereabout, the defendant, Troye Kovach, did negligently, carelessly, and/or recklessly furnish a bottle of liquor to Christopher Hutchinson, a minor.

4. At all relevant times hereto, the defendant, Troye Kovach, was aware that Christopher Hutchinson was a minor and could not possess or consume alcoholic beverages in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.

5. During the evening of June 24, 2003 through the early morning of June 25, 2003, Christopher Hutchinson consumed the liquor provided to him by the defendant, Troye Kovach, to the point of intoxication.

6. After Christopher Hutchinson consumed the aforementioned liquor, he proceeded to operate his automobile on S.R. 88 (also known as Library Road) located in the Municipality of Bethel Park, Allegheny County, Pennsylvania.

7. As a proximate result of his intoxicated state, Christopher Hutchinson was unable to operate his vehicle in a safe and proper manner in accordance with the statutes, regulations and other laws of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.

8. On June 25, 2003, at approximately 12:30 a.m., Christopher Hutchinson was observed by Bethel Park Police Officer John Symsek to be traveling at a dangerous and excessive rate of speed on S.R. 8.

9. When Christopher Hutchinson realized that he had been observed by Officer Symsek and that Officer Symsek had activated his emergency lights, Christopher Hutchinson turned off his head lights and continued to drive at a high rate of speed to avoid being stopped and arrested for driving under the influence of alcohol.

10. While attempting to elude the pursuit of Officer Symsek, Christopher Hutchinson operated his vehicle in such a careless and negligent manner that he drove onto a concrete median and struck the vehicle operated by the plaintiff, Rebecca Richter Villa, which was traveling south on S.R. 88.

11. At the time of the accident, the plaintiff, Rebecca Richter Villa, was employed as a Police Officer with the Municipality of Bethel Park.

12. As a result of Defendant Troye Kovach's negligent and wrongful conduct in furnishing alcohol to Christopher Hutchinson, a minor, the plaintiff, Rebecca Richter Villa, was seriously injured when her vehicle was involved in the collision with the vehicle operated by Christopher Hutchinson. . . .

Villa Complaint ¶¶ 3-12. The Villa Complaint contained two counts: one count seeking damages against Troye Kovach for personal injuries to Rebecca Villa and one count seeking damages for loss of society of his wife by Nicholas Villa. Id. ¶¶ 1-16.

During the time period between March 31, 2003, and March 31, 2004, defendant Nancy Kovach was a named insured under a homeowners' insurance policy issued by plaintiff for a residence located at 3745 Myrtle Avenue, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Joint Statement of Material Facts ("JSMF") ¶4. The policy number for the policy issued to Nancy Kovach for this property (the "Policy") was US 214343727. Pl.'s Ex. B at 2. Defendant Troye Kovach, son of Nancy Kovach resided at this insured residence. JSMF ¶6. There is no dispute that Troye Kovach is a "covered person" under the Policy.

The parties have attached documents related to the Policy to the appendices for the cross-motions for summary judgment. Pl.'s Ex. B; Defs.' Ex. B and C. These include a "USP Special Renewal Policy Coverage Summary" for the period between March 31, 2003, and March 31, 2004. Pl.'s Ex. B at 1-3. This document summarizes the terms of the coverage, limits, and premiums under the Policy. Id. It also lists under "General Policy Information" that the Policy is subject to certain listed forms and endorsements. Id. at 3. These include G18535-A (09-93) ("Special-Home") and G-15380A (06-95) ("Transition Endorsement - Special Home Segment"). Id.

The former of these, G18535-A (09-93) ("Special-Home"), includes a section with respect to liability coverage for the insured home (as opposed to property coverage for the home) entitled "LOSSES WE DO NOT COVER." Id. at 8-10. Among other things, this section indicates that, with respect to personal liability and medical expense, coverages do not apply to bodily injury:

(h) Intended by, or which may reasonably be expected to result from the intentional or criminal acts or omissions of one or more covered persons. This exclusion applies even if:

(1) Such covered person lacks the mental capacity to govern his or her conduct;

(2) Such bodily injury or property damage is of a different kind or degree than that intended or reasonably expected; or

(3) Such bodily injury or property damage is sustained by a different person than intended or reasonably expected.

This exclusion applies regardless of whether or not such covered person is actually charged with or convicted of a crime.

Id. at 8-9 (internal page 17-18)(bold emphasis in original; underline emphasis added).

The latter of these, G-15380A (06-95) ("Transition Endorsement - Special Home Segment"), modifies some of the provisions of the Policy, including subsection (h) quoted above. Id. at 11 (internal page 1). Relevant to the instant matter, with respect to liability coverage for the insured home, "LOSSES WE DO NOT COVER" is amended by, among other things, ...


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