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Allstate Insurance Co. v. Naskidashvili

February 16, 2009

ALLSTATE INSURANCE CO., PLAINTIFF,
v.
MERI NASKIDASHVILI, PAATA DONADZE, AND KHATUNA DONADZE, DEFENDANTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Louis H. Pollak, J.

OPINION

Plaintiff Allstate Insurance Company seeks a declaratory judgment that it has no duty to defend or indemnify defendants Paata Donadze and Khatuna Donadze in a tort action brought by defendant Meri Naskidashvili in the Philadelphia County Court of Common Pleas. Now before the court is Allstate's motion for summary judgment. For the reasons that follow, plaintiff's motion will be denied.

I. BACKGROUND

A. Facts

This case arises from Meri Naskidashvili's fall down the basement steps of Paata and Khatuna Donadze's home. Ms. Naskidashvili is Khatuna's mother and a citizen of the country of Georgia. She was issued a six-month visa on December 9, 2004, to come from Georgia to the United States to visit her family. Naskidashvili Dep. at 15. During this visit, she stayed with her daughter Khatuna, son-in-law Paata, and grandson David at their home at 10820 Kelvin Avenue, Philadelphia, PA, 19116. Naskidashvili Dep. at 15. On March 17, 2005, Ms. Naskidashvili was descending the basement steps when she slipped and fell. She suffered personal injuries, including a broken left arm, a fractured left hip, a pulmonary embolism, internal bleeding, and bruising, which required hospitalization at Frankford Torresdale Hospital as an inpatient from March 19 to April 1 and later required convalescent and in-patient nursing care. Defs.' Ex. A at 2. She has ongoing medical consequences resulting from these injuries.

Paata Donadze, at the time of the accident, was the named insured on a homeowners' insurance policy ("the policy") purchased through plaintiff Allstate Insurance Company ("Allstate"). Compl. Ex. A. The Donadzes must have notified Allstate about Ms. Naskidashvili's accident (though the record does not contain information as to how this notification took place), because on April 21, 2005, Allstate sent a letter notifying them that Allstate was "reserv[ing] all rights and defenses" in conjunction with the policy. Compl. Ex. D.

On January 8, 2007, Ms. Naskidashvili filed a complaint against the Donadzes in the Court of Common Pleas of Philadelphia County, alleging that their negligence in maintaining their home caused her accident. See Compl. Ex. C. Allstate retained counsel to represent the Donadzes in the Court of Common Pleas. Allstate then filed this declaratory judgment action on October 15, 2007, seeking an order that it is not required to indemnify or defend the Donadzes in the action in the Court of Common Pleas. On March 24, 2008, after a period of discovery, Allstate filed the instant motion for summary judgment.

B. The Policy

Section II of the Policy deals with "Family Liability and Guest Medical Protection." Compl. Ex. A. The first part of this section commits Allstate to pay damages which an insured person becomes legally obligated to pay because of bodily injury or property damage arising from an occurrence to which this policy applies, and covered by this part of the policy.

Compl. Ex. A. at 18 (emphasis in original). Exclusions apply, however. Under paragraph 2, [Allstate does] not cover bodily injury to an insured person or property damage to property owned by an insured person whenever any benefit of this coverage would accrue directly or indirectly to an insured person.

Id. (emphasis in original). Additionally, [Allstate does] not cover bodily injury to any insured person or regular resident of the insured premises. However, this exclusion does not apply to a residence employee.

Id. at 20 (emphasis in original).

The policy elsewhere informs the policyholder that the term insured person(s) [] means you and, if a resident of your household: a) any relative; ...


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