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Allstate Insurance Co. v. Joezer Antoine

March 6, 2012

ALLSTATE INSURANCE CO.
PLAINTIFF,
v.
JOEZER ANTOINE, ET AL., DEFENDANTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Slomsky, J.

OPINION

I. INTRODUCTION

This case is a declaratory judgment action brought pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2201 in which Plaintiff Allstate Insurance Company ("Allstate") seeks a declaration that it is not obligated to defend and indemnify Defendant Joezer Antoine ("Defendant Antoine" or "Antoine") in two pending state court matters. For reasons that follow, the Court will decline to exercise jurisdiction over this case.

II. FACTUAL BACKGROUND

This declaratory judgment action arises from two state actions, both stemming from a vehicular collision that occurred on May 19, 2008. (Doc. No. 1 ¶¶ 12, 26.) On that day, Defendant Antoine was operating a motor vehicle that was owned and insured by Defendants Victor Velez and Pierrette Velez, husband and wife ("H/W Velez Defendants"). (Id. ¶ 12.) Defendant Antoine is a friend of the daughter of H/W Velez Defendants. The daughter is also listed as a defendant here, and her name is Alexandra Velez ("Defendant A. Velez"). According to Defendant Antoine, Defendant A. Velez gave him permission to operate the vehicle on May 19, 2008.*fn1 (Doc. No. 23 at 3.)

While driving the Velez vehicle, Defendant Antoine pulled out of a parking lot onto Charlestown Road in Chester County, Pennsylvania. (Doc. No. 20 at 2.) At that moment, the Velez vehicle caused a collision with other vehicles. (Id.) One vehicle was owned by Defendant Eagle Wolfington Leasing Corporation ("Defendant Eagle Wolfington") and operated by Defendant Cynthia Urzillo ("Defendant Urzillo"). (Doc. No. 1 ¶ 17.) A second vehicle was operated by Defendant Page Buck, whose minor daughter Nina Buck was a passenger in the back seat of the Buck vehicle. (Doc. No. 1-4 ¶¶ 7-8.) Suits were filed in state court by the parties in the collision caused by the car driven by Defendant Antoine.

In the first state action, H/W Urzillo Defendants have brought tort claims against Defendant Antoine and H/W Velez Defendants in the Chester County Court of Common Pleas. (Doc. No. 1 ¶¶ 13-14; Doc. No. 1, Ex. C.) In the second state action, which is also filed in the Chester County Court of Common Pleas, Defendants Page Buck and Christopher Nelson, individually and as the parents and natural guardians of Nina Buck, have brought tort claims against Defendant Antoine, H/W Velez Defendants, and Defendant A. Velez. (Doc. No. 1 ¶¶ 15-16; Doc. No. 1, Ex. D.) In the case filed by Defendants Buck and Nelson, Defendant Antoine has joined Defendants Urzillo and Eagle Wolfington, alleging that negligence on the part of Urzillo as the driver contributed to the cause of the collision, and naming Eagle Wolfington as the owner of the vehicle that Urzillo was operating. (Doc. No. 1 ¶ 17.)

The declaratory judgment action presently before the Court involves two insurance policies issued by Allstate to the H/W Velez Defendants. Whether these policies provide coverage for the actions of Defendant Antoine is the subject of the dispute here.

The H/W Velez Defendants were named insureds under two policies: (1) an automobile insurance policy ("the Automobile Insurance Policy"); and (2) an umbrella insurance policy ("the Umbrella Policy").*fn2 With respect to "insured persons," the Automobile Insurance Policy provides in pertinent part as follows:

Insured Persons

These persons are insured under Coverage AA and Coverage BB:

1. While using an insured auto:

a) You, and

b) Any resident ...


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