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Wesco Insurance Co. v. Archer Landscape Group, LLC

United States District Court, N.D. Mississippi, Aberdeen Division

November 21, 2018

WESCO INSURANCE COMPANY PLAINTIFF
v.
ARCHER LANDSCAPE GROUP, LLC; GERALD SELLERS; RICHARD STRACHAN; and TIMOTHY BRASFIELD DEFENDANTS

          MEMORANDUM ORDER AND OPINION

          DEBRA M. BROWN, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

         Before the Court in this declaratory judgment action is Wesco Insurance Company's motion for summary judgment. Doc. #47.

         I

         Summary Judgment Standard

         Under Rule 56 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, “[s]ummary judgment is proper only if the pleadings and record materials reveal no genuine issue as to any material fact.” Renwick v. PNK Lake Charles, L.L.C., 901 F.3d 605, 611 (5th Cir. 2018). “A material fact is one that might affect the outcome of the suit under governing law, and a fact issue is genuine if the evidence is such that a reasonable jury could return a verdict for the non-moving party.” Id. (quotation marks and citations omitted). In making these determinations, a court “must view the evidence in the light most favorable to the non-moving party, drawing all justifiable inferences in the non-movant's favor.” Id. (quotation marks and alterations omitted). “The party moving for summary judgment bears the burden of identifying the portions of the record that demonstrate the absence of a genuine issue of material fact, and the nonmovant must then point to or produce specific facts demonstrating that there is a genuine issue of material fact.” James v. Woods, 899 F.3d 404, 407 (5th Cir. 2018) (quotation marks and citation omitted). “Where the nonmoving party bears the burden of proof at trial, the moving party satisfies this initial burden by demonstrating an absence of evidence to support the nonmoving party's case.” Celtic Marine Corp. v. James C. Justice Cos., Inc., 760 F.3d 477, 481 (5th Cir. 2014).

         II

         Factual Background and Procedural History

         Archer Landscape Group, LLC was formed in May 2012 to provide landscape construction and maintenance services. Doc. #47-2 at 6-7, 23-24. Since the company's inception, Gerald Sellers has served as president and landscape architect. Id. at 6.

         In July 2013, Wesco issued Archer Landscape an insurance policy (“Policy”) that provided liability coverage from July 2, 2013, through July 2, 2014. Doc. #38-2. The Policy states in relevant part:

SECTION I - COVERAGES
COVERAGE A BODILY INJURY AND PROPERTY DAMAGE LIABILITY
1. Insuring Agreement
a. We will pay those sums that the insured becomes legally obligated to pay as damages because of “bodily injury” or “property damage” to which this insurance applies. We will have the right and duty to defend the insured against any ‘suit' seeking those damages. However, we will have no duty to defend the insured against any ‘suit' seeking damages for ‘bodily injury' or “property damage” to which this insurance does not apply.
. . .
b. This insurance applies to “bodily injury” and “property damage” only if:
(1) The “bodily injury” or “property damage” is caused by an “occurrence” that takes place in the “coverage territory”;
(2) The “bodily injury” or “property damage” occurs during the policy period
. . .
2. Exclusions
This insurance does not apply to:
. . .
e. Employer's Liability
“Bodily injury” ...

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