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Allied Property and Casualty Insurance Company v. Bourisaw

United States District Court, E.D. Missouri, Eastern Division

July 31, 2017

ALLIED PROPERTY AND CASUALTY INSURANCE COMPANY, Plaintiff,
v.
KARIN BOURISAW, Defendant. KARIN BOURISAW, Third Party Plaintiff,
v.
STATE FARM MUTUAL AUTOMOBILE INSURANCE COMPANY, Third Party Defendant.

          MEMORANDUM AND ORDER

          SHIRLEY PADMORE MENSAH UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE

         This matter is before the Court on the Motion for Summary Judgment filed by Plaintiff Allied Property and Casualty Insurance Company (“Allied”) against defendant Karin Bourisaw (“Bourisaw”). (Doc. 7). No opposition was filed.[1] The parties have consented to the jurisdiction of the undersigned United States Magistrate Judge pursuant to 28 U.S. § 636. (Doc. 24). For the reasons stated below, the Court will grant Allied's motion for summary judgment.

         I. Factual Background

         The facts are not in dispute. On July 17, 2014, Bourisaw was injured in a car accident while a passenger in a vehicle owned by Allied's insured, Penny Carlyon. Bourisaw alleges that the accident was caused by the other driver involved (“the tortfeasor”). The limit of the tortfeasor's liability policy was $100, 000, and Bourisaw recovered the full limit of the tortfeasor's insurance policy. Bourisaw then sought underinsured motorist coverage pursuant to a policy issued by Allied to Penny Carlyon (“the Policy”) for her remaining injuries. The limit of liability for underinsured motorist coverage under the Policy is $100, 000.

         Allied filed the instant action for a declaratory judgment against Bourisaw, seeking a declaration that Bourisaw is not entitled to coverage under the Policy because the tortfeasor's vehicle does not qualify as an “underinsured motor vehicle” under the Policy. Bourisaw filed a counterclaim for declaratory judgment against against Allied, asking the Court to declare that she is entitled to coverage under the Policy.[2] Allied now moves for summary judgment on its claim and Bourisaw's counterclaim. (Doc. 7).

         II. Legal Standard

         The applicable standards for summary judgment motions are well settled. Summary judgment is proper “if the movant shows that there is no genuine dispute as to any material fact and the movant is entitled to judgment as a matter of law.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(a). See also Hill v. Walker, 737 F.3d 1209, 1216 (8th Cir. 2013). “The movant ‘bears the initial responsibility of informing the district court of the basis for its motion' and must identify ‘those portions of [the record] . . . which it believes demonstrate the absence of a genuine issue of material fact.'” Progressive Cas. Ins. Co. v. Morton, 140 F.Supp.3d 856, 860 (E.D. Mo. 2015) (quoting Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 322 (1986)). If the movant meets its burden, then the burden shifts to the nonmovant to submit evidentiary materials that “designate specific facts showing that there is a genuine issue for trial.” Celotex, 477 U.S. at 324 (quotation marks omitted).

         III. Discussion

         In its motion for summary judgment, Allied argues that Bourisaw is not entitled to underinsured motorist coverage under the Policy because the Policy's definition of “underinsured motor vehicle” does not apply to the tortfeasor's vehicle here. The “Underinsured Motor Vehicle Coverage” section of the Policy states:

         I. UNDERINSURED MOTORISTS COVERAGE

         INSURING AGREEMENT

         A. We will pay compensatory damages which an “insured” is legally entitled to recover from the owner or operator of an “uninsured motor vehicle” because of “bodily injury”:

1. Sustained by an ...

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