Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

The Hartford Insurance Co. of the Midwest v. Denise Fowler : As Administratrix of the

January 3, 2013

THE HARTFORD INSURANCE CO. OF THE MIDWEST, PLAINTIFF,
v.
DENISE FOWLER : AS ADMINISTRATRIX OF THE ESTATE OF OMAR D. MADISON, DECEASED , DEFENDANT.



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

MEMORANDUM OPINION

I. PROCEDURAL HISTORY

By order dated May 25, 2011, and entered on the docket on May 26, 2011, the Court granted a motion for default judgment in this declaratory judgment action, and declared that Plaintiff, The Hartford Insurance Co. of the Midwest ("Hartford"), had no duty or obligation under its insurance policy No. 55 PHF473176 to pay insurance benefits in connection with Omar Madison's 2007 fatal accident while riding a "pocket bike" *fn1 on city streets. Defendant Denise Fowler, the administrator of the decedent's estate, had been served but had not responded to the Complaint, to the entry of default, or to the motion for default judgment. Plaintiff alleged, and Defendant did not come forward to contest at the time of judgment, that there was no coverage under the policy both because Mr. Madison did not reside with Ms. Fowler (Hartford's insured) and therefore was not a "family member" additional insured under the terms of the policy, and because the pocket bike (an off-road-only vehicle) was not covered under the policy.

On May 25, 2012, Defendant filed a Motion for Relief from Judgment or Order Pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 60(b). In the Motion, Defendant asserts that her prior counsel, who had been retained to represent her interests and those of the Estate of Omar Madison, notified Hartford in 2007 that the Estate was asserting an underinsured motorist ("UIM") claim against Hartford, and on November 22, 2010, demanded arbitration of the UIM claim, which Hartford rejected. *fn2 Hartford filed the declaratory judgment action on March 16, 2011. Defendant asserts that on May 23, 2011 (two days before the motion for default judgment was granted), Ms. Fowler retained new counsel, Dean Owens. Mr. Owens filed an entry of appearance, which was docketed on May 25, 2011, crossing with the Court's order granting default judgment. *fn3

According to the Court's CM/ECF system, electronic notice of the entry on May 26, 2011, of the Court's May 25, 2011 Order granting default judgment was sent to Mr. Owens at the email address registered with the Court. On May 27, 2011, Mr. Owens filed an answer to the Complaint, which was docketed on May 31, 2011. No further activity was recorded on the docket until the Motion for Relief was filed a year later.

II. LEGAL STANDARD

Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 60(b) provides:

(b) Grounds for Relief from a Final Judgment, Order, or Proceeding. On motion and just terms, the court may relieve a party or its legal representative from a final judgment, order, or proceeding for the following reasons:

(1) mistake, inadvertence, surprise, or excusable neglect;

(2) newly discovered evidence that, with reasonable diligence, could not have been discovered in time to move for a new trial under Rule 59(b);

(3) fraud (whether previously called intrinsic or extrinsic), misrepresentation, or misconduct by an opposing party;

(4) the judgment is void;

(5) the judgment has been satisfied, released, or discharged; it is based on an earlier judgment that has been reversed or vacated; or applying it prospectively is no longer equitable; or

(6) any other reason that justifies relief. *fn4 Defendant asserts excusable neglect under Rule 60(b)(1) or general equitable concerns under Rule 60(b)(6) in this case. In determining excusable neglect, a court engages in an equitable evaluation and is required to weigh the "totality of the circumstances." *fn5 The Court of Appeals requires a district court to consider "(1) whether the plaintiff will be prejudiced; (2) whether the defendant has a meritorious defense; [and] (3) whether the default was the result of the defendant's culpable conduct." *fn6 Relief under ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.