United States District Court, S.D. Mississippi, Western Division
ORDER AND OPINION
BRAMLETTE UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
the Court is a Motion to Dismiss [Doc. 10]
filed by Defendant Board of Mayor and Selectmen of McComb,
Mississippi (the “City”).
downtown McComb building collapsed because too much water
gathered on its roof. This declaratory judgment action asks
whether two insurance policies that might otherwise cover
damage caused by the collapse are void due to an
insured's misrepresentations to his insurer, Hudson
Specialty Insurance Company
City -- citing no authority -- asks the Court to decline
jurisdiction and dismiss this declaratory action because it
duplicates another action pending in Pike County Circuit
action, the City sued Hudson and its insureds, alleging the
negligence of both caused the building's collapse. The
coverage and policy-validity issues raised here were not
Declaratory Judgment Act gives the Court discretion to
declare the rights of litigants. 28 U.S.C. § 2201(a).
But before it decides whether it should exercise that
discretion, the Court must find two things: that this case is
justiciable and that the Court may grant the declaratory
relief Hudson requests. Orix Credit Alliance, Inc. v. Wolfe,
212 F.3d 891, 895 (5th Cir. 2000). The Court so finds here.
suit presents a live dispute between Hudson and the City. One
party supports coverage, the other opposes it. The case is
therefore justiciable. See Maryland Cas. Co. v. Pacific Coal
& Oil Co., 312 U.S. 270, 273 (1941).
Court also finds that it has authority to rescind
Hudson's insurance policies and to declare Hudson's
obligations under those policies - the relief Hudson seeks in
this suit. See Massachusetts Mut. Life. Ins. Co. v.
Nicholson, 775 F.Supp. 954, 962 (N.D. Miss. 1991).
the Court considers the more involved question. Should the
Court exercise its discretion to decide this declaratory
action? The answer depends on seven factors:
1) Pendency of a state-court action in which all of the
disputed issues may be litigated;
2) Whether Hudson filed this action in anticipation of a
declaratory action ...