United States District Court, E.D. Missouri, Eastern Division
C. HAMILTON UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
matter is before the Court on Defendant Hartford Life
Insurance Company's RenewedMotion for Summary Judgment, filed
August 30, 2016. (ECF No. 29). The motion is fully briefed
and ready for disposition.
25, 2013, Roland Linneman (“Linneman”) was
driving his Ford F-150 at approximately 1:30 p.m., on a dry,
straight, level, concrete divided highway, when his vehicle
went into the median dividing the highway. (Defendant's
Renewed Statement of Uncontroverted Material Facts
(“Hartford's Facts”), ¶ 6). The vehicle
flipped, and Linneman was ejected from the vehicle.
(Id.). Linneman died at the scene of the accident on
June 25, 2013. (Id., ¶ 7).
Missouri State Highway Patrol completed a four-page Missouri
Uniform Crash Report (“Crash Report”) regarding
the June 25, 2013, incident. (Hartford's Facts, ¶ 8;
ECF No. 29-1, PP. 15-18). The Crash Report listed Alcohol as
a “probable contributing circumstance” to the
accident. (ECF No. 29-1, P. 17). The Missouri State Highway
Patrol also prepared a Q Lab Toxicology Certified Report,
which stated that Linneman's blood alcohol content
(“BAC”) was 0.284%. (ECF No. 29-1, P.
Linneman's Certification of Death listed “blunt
force trauma to upper body” as the underlying cause of
death. (ECF No. 35-1).
time of his accident, Linneman was insured under Policy
Number ADD-9866 (“Policy”), issued by Defendant
Hartford Life Insurance Company (“Hartford”).
(Hartford's Facts, ¶ 1). The Policy provides that
“[i]f [the Covered Person's] Injury results in any
of the following losses within 365 days after the date of
accident, [Hartford] will pay the sum shown
opposite the Loss in the Loss Table shown below.” (ECF
No. 29-1, P. 7). “Injury” is defined as
“bodily injury resulting directly from accident and
independently of all other causes which occurs while [the
Covered Person is] covered under the policy.”
(Id.). The Policy further contains the following
exclusion: “The policy does not cover any loss
resulting from:….Injury sustained while operating a
motor vehicle while legally intoxicated from the use of
Barbara Wyland was designated as Linneman's beneficiary
under the Policy. (Petition (hereinafter
“Complaint”), ¶ 4). Plaintiff submitted a
claim for benefits under the Policy, which Hartford denied.
(Id., ¶ 6). Plaintiff exhausted her
administrative remedies with Hartford by filing an appeal of
the denial, which was also denied. (Id.,
¶¶ 7, 8).
about January 7, 2016, Plaintiff initiated this action by
filing a Complaint in the Circuit Court of Lincoln County,
Missouri. (ECF No. 4). Plaintiff originally named Hartford
and Direct Response Insurance Administrative Services, Inc.
as Defendants, but later voluntarily dismissed Direct
Response. (Id.; ECF Nos. 8, 9). As noted above,
Hartford filed the instant Renewed Motion for Summary
Judgment on August 30, 2016, claiming the Policy excludes
coverage for injuries sustained in the manner at issue here.
(ECF No. 29).
Court may grant a motion for summary judgment if, “the
pleadings, depositions, answers to interrogatories, and
admissions on file, together with the affidavits, if any,
show that there is no genuine issue as to any material fact
and that the moving party is entitled to judgment as a matter
of law.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(c); Celotex Corp. v.
Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 322 (1986). The substantive law
determines which facts are critical and which are irrelevant.
Only disputes over facts that might affect the outcome will
properly preclude summary judgment. Anderson v. Liberty
Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 248 (1986). Summary judgment
is not proper if the evidence is such that a reasonable jury
could return a verdict for the nonmoving party. Id.
moving party always bears the burden of informing the Court
of the basis of its motion. Celotex, 477 U.S. at
323. Once the moving party discharges this burden, the
nonmoving party must set forth specific facts demonstrating
that there is a dispute as to a genuine issue of material
fact, not the “mere existence of some alleged factual
dispute.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(e); Anderson, 477
U.S. at 247. The nonmoving party may not rest upon mere
allegations or denials of its pleadings. Anderson,
477 U.S. at 256.
passing on a motion for summary judgment, the Court must view
the facts in the light most favorable to the nonmoving party,
and all justifiable inferences are to be drawn in its favor.
Anderson, 477 U.S. at 255. The Court's function
is not to weigh the evidence, but to determine whether there
is a genuine issue for trial. Id. at 249.
Renewed Motion for Summary Judgment, Hartford notes that for
purposes of the instant motion, the finding of the Missouri
State Highway Patrol Crime Laboratory that Linneman had a BAC
level of 0.284% at the time of his death is uncontested.
(Defendant's Renewed Memorandum in Support of its Motion
for Summary Judgment (“Hartford's Memo in
Support”), P. 1). Hartford further asserts that under
Missouri law, anyone with a blood alcohol level above 0.08%
is intoxicated. (Id.; see also Mo.Rev.Stat.
§ 577.012). Thus, according to Hartford, the sole issue
to be decided is whether the applicable ...