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Alea London Limited v. Woodlake Management

January 13, 2009

ALEA LONDON LIMITED, PLAINTIFF,
v.
WOODLAKE MANAGEMENT, ET AL., DEFENDANTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Anita B. Brody, J.

MEMORANDUM AND ORDER

I. INTRODUCTION

On August 22, 2008, Plaintiff Alea London Limited ("Alea") filed a Declaratory Judgment Action requesting that the court find that Alea had no duty to defend or indemnify the Defendants in a pending state court action. On November 25, 2008, Defendants Woodlake Management, Cliveden Realty Corp., Cliveden 2002, L.P., d/b/a Cliveden Apartments, and Cliveden, L.P. (the "moving defendants") moved to stay the federal court action because it was dependent on a factual determination in the state case, which is presently stayed. On December 8, 2008, Alea filed an opposition to the moving defendants' Motion to Stay and filed a Cross Motion for Judgment on the Pleadings. Currently before the court is the moving defendants' Motion to Stay and Alea's Motion for Judgment on the Pleadings. For the reasons that follow, moving defendants' Motion to Stay is denied and Alea's Motion for Judgment on the Pleadings is granted.

II. BACKGROUND

On July 13, 2005, Khar Abdulah was shot multiple times on property owned or managed by the moving defendants. On April 16, 2007, Mr. Abdulah and Mirta Nieves-Abdulah filed an action in the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas against the moving defendants. That state court action is currently stayed because Mr. Abdulah is incarcerated. In the declaratory Judgment Action currently before the court, Alea seeks a declaration that they have no duty to defend or indemnify the defendants in connection with the claims asserted by the Abdulahs. Alea contends that an assault and battery exclusion in the Commercial General Liability Policy (the "liability policy") issued to moving defendants for the period of December 31, 2004 to December 31, 2005 releases them of any duty to defend or indemnify. The moving defendants assert that if Mr. Abdulah's injuries were caused by the moving defendant's negligence, as opposed to being caused by the assault and battery by a third person, then coverage is required. Moving defendants further contend that a factual determination of the cause of injury in the underlying state action must be made before this court can issue a declaratory judgment regarding the duties to defend and indemnify.

A. The Abdulah's Complaint

The following is a summary of what the Abdulahs allege in their Complaint:

* While at the Cliveden Apartments, premises owned, leased, possessed, controlled, and/or managed by the moving defendants, Mr. Abdulah was shot numerous times by John Doe.

* John Doe entered the apartment through a door with a broken security lock.

* Moving defendants provided the security lock and knew or should have known that it was broken.

* Moving defendants negligently, carelessly, and/or recklessly allowed a dangerous and defective condition of the property to exist.

* Moving defendants negligently, carelessly, and/or recklessly failed to inspect and/or maintain the premises with regard to dangerous and defective conditions

* Moving defendants negligently, carelessly, and/or recklessly failed to warn Plaintiff of said ...


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