United States District Court, E.D. Pennsylvania
before the Court is Defendant/Counterclaim Plaintiff Certain
Underwriters at Lloyd's, London's
(“Lloyd's”) unopposed Motion for Partial
Summary Judgment. (Doc. No. 59). For the following reasons,
we GRANT Lloyd's Motion for Partial Summary Judgment.
Corey Brown (“Brown”) entered into an insurance
policy, Policy No. DP10336 (the “Policy”), with
Lloyd's to insure Brown's property located at 1220 S.
50th Street, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (the
“Property”). After a fire occurred at the
Property on May 1, 2015, Brown sought to recover insurance
proceeds from Lloyd's. Lloyd's refused, and Brown
filed the instant lawsuit. Lloyd's filed various
counterclaims against Brown, seeking to invalidate the Policy
and hold Brown liable for insurance fraud.
the close of discovery, Lloyd's filed a Motion for
Partial Summary Judgment. Brown did not respond. By failing
to do so, Brown did not dispute any of the facts that
Lloyd's advances in its Motion, nor did he take issue
with any of the documentary evidence and affidavits upon
which Lloyd's relies.
judgment is appropriate when “the pleadings,
depositions, answers to interrogatories, and admissions on
file, together with affidavits, if any, show that there is no
genuine issue as to any material fact and that the moving
party is entitle to judgment as a matter of law.”
Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(c). An issue is “genuine” if
there is sufficient evidentiary support upon which a
reasonable juror could find for the non-moving party.
Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 248
(1986). A fact is “material” if it might affect
the outcome of the case under governing law. Id.
party seeking summary judgment always bears the initial
responsibility for informing the district court of the basis
for its motion and identify those portions of the record that
it believes demonstrate the absence of a genuine issue of
material fact.” Allstate Ins. Co. v. Jacobs,
No. 07-cv-2715, 2008 WL 687091, at *1 (E.D. Pa. March 7,
2008) (citing Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S.
317, 322 (1986)). If the moving party meets this initial
burden, the non-moving party's response, “by
affidavits or otherwise as provided in this rule, must set
forth specific facts showing that there is a genuine issue
for trial.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(e). Despite a
non-movant's unwillingness to defend against a motion for
summary judgment, we address the merits of the motion and do
not merely grant it as uncontested. Loc. R. Civ. P. 7.1;
see also Jacobs, 2008 WL 687091, at *1.
satisfied that Lloyd's has established the following
facts, which constitute the gravamen of the claims at issue,
are beyond a genuine dispute.
Lloyd's has established that Brown represented in his
application for insurance that the Property would be occupied
beginning on May 1, 2015. Brown similarly represented that a
tenant had already signed a lease for a one-year term
beginning on May 1, 2015. Brown supported these
representations by providing Lloyd's with the signed
lease that he referenced in his application. The signed lease
identifies Judy Cooks as the future tenant.
is no genuine dispute that Brown made these representations
while knowing that they were false. Ms. Cooks testified at
her deposition that she and Brown are former colleagues, that
Brown asked if she would sign a lease for the Property, and
that they agreed the purported lease would only be used so
that he could qualify for insurance from Lloyd's. Ms.
Cook's testimony further shows that Brown never believed
Ms. Cook's would occupy the Property or pay him under the
terms of the purported lease. This testimony goes unrebutted
because Brown refused to answer any questions on this subject
at his deposition.We are satisfied that no reasonable juror
could find that Brown made the above representations to
Lloyd's with the belief that they were true.
we find that these misrepresentations were material to
Lloyd's risk of insuring the Property. Information is
“material” if it would influence the insurer in
“estimating the degrees and character of the risk, or
in fixing the premium rate.” A.G. Allebach, Inc. v.
Hurley, 540 A.2d 289, 295 (Pa. Super. 1988). The Policy
included an “Occupancy Endorsement, ” which made
occupancy an express condition for coverage. Moreover,
Brown's insurance agent, Leonard Garza, provided an
affidavit establishing that the purported lease with Ms.
Cooks was necessary in order for Brown to obtain insurance
from Lloyd's. This evidence establishes the materiality
of Brown's representations.
we find that Brown again made misrepresentations when he
pursued his claim against Lloyd's to recover for the fire
damage to the Property. In his Complaint, Brown represented
that a tenant was scheduled to move into the property on May
1, 2015, and that because of the fire, he is entitled to
damages for not be able to collect rent under the purported