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Progressive Direct Insurance Co. v. Galloway

March 17, 2009

PROGRESSIVE DIRECT INSURANCE COMPANY, PLAINTIFF,
v.
SHARON M. GALLOWAY, ADMINISTRATOR OF THE ESTATE OF STEVEN D. GALLOWAY, DECEASED. DEFENDANT.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Judge Sean J. McLaughlin

MEMORANDUM OPINION

This matter is before the Court upon cross-motions for summary judgment.

I. BACKGROUND

On July 7, 2007, Steven Galloway was a passenger in a 1992 Chevy Lumina which was owned and operated by his brother, William. A single vehicle accident ensued and Steven was killed. At the time of the accident, the Galloways maintained two insurance policies provided by Plaintiff Progressive Insurance Company ("Progressive").

One policy, bearing policy number 14788818-1, listed Sharon Galloway as "First Named Insured" and listed David Galloway under "Drivers and household residents." (Complaint, Exhibit A). This policy covered four vehicles: a 1998 Ford Winstar, a 1994 Ford Bronco, a 1991 Ford Mustang GT/Cobra GT, and a 1992 Plymouth Voyager. It provided, inter alia, underinsured motorist coverage in the amount of $50,000.00 per person/$100,000.00 per accident. The policy permitted stacking and, therefore, provided up to $200,000.00 in underinsured motorist coverage.

The other policy, bearing policy number 14673051-2, provided, inter alia, liability coverage and listed the 1992 Chevy Lumina and a 1993 Dodge Dakota as covered vehicles. (Complaint, Exhibit B). Sharon Galloway was listed as the "First Named Insured," with her husband, David Galloway, and both William and Steven listed as "Drivers and household residents." Subsequent to the accident, Sharon Galloway, as administrator of the estate, recovered the limits of the liability coverage under policy number 14673051-2.

Sharon Galloway subsequently submitted a claim for underinsured motorist coverage under policy number 14788818-1. Progressive denied the claim based upon the following language contained in the policy:

An "underinsured motor vehicle" does not include any vehicle or equipment:

a. owned by you or a relative or furnished or available for the regular use of you or a relative. (Complaint, Exhibit A, p. 12). The second exclusion relied upon by Progressive in denying coverage provides as follows:

EXCLUSIONS - read the following exclusions carefully. If an exclusion applies, coverage will not be afforded under this Part III. Coverage under this Part III will not apply:

1. To bodily injury sustained by any person using or occupying:

b. a motor vehicle that is owned by or available for the regular use of you or a relative. This exclusion does not apply to a covered auto that is ensured under this part III.

(Complaint, Exhibit A, p. 13).

On February 1, 2008, Progressive instituted the instant action by filing a Complaint for Declaratory Judgment. Progressive requests a declaration that it has no duty to pay underinsured motorist benefits to Steven Galloway's estate under policy number 14788818-1. On June 16, 2006, Progressive filed a motion for summary judgment. On July 17, 2006, Galloway filed a cross-motion for summary judgment. This matter is ripe for disposition.

II. STANDARD OF REVIEW

Summary judgment is proper "if the pleadings, depositions, answers to interrogatories and admissions on file, together with the affidavits, if any, show that there is no genuine issue as to any material fact and that the moving party is entitled to judgment as a matter of law." Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(c). In order to withstand a motion for summary judgment, the non-moving party must "make a showing sufficient to establish the existence of [each] element essential to that party's case, and on which that party will bear the burden of proof at trial." Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 322 (1986). In evaluating whether the non-moving party has established each necessary element, the Court must grant all reasonable inferences from the evidence to the non-moving party. Knabe v. Boury Corp., 114 F.3d 407, 410, n.4 (3d Cir. 1997) (citingMatsushita Elec. Indus. Co. v. Zenith Radio ...


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