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Amica Mutual Insurance Co. v. D.B.

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

October 6, 2017

D.B., Personal Representative of the Estate of M.R., et al., Defendants.



         T.M. was involved in an abusive sexual relationship with M.R., from which she suffered emotional and physical injuries. M.R. is now deceased. T.M. seeks to recover under M.R.'s homeowners insurance for her emotional injuries. M.R.'s insurer, Amica Mutual Insurance Company, seeks a declaration that its policy of insurance does not apply to any of T.M.'s injuries. T.M. and Amica have filed cross-motions for summary judgment on the claims. Because the undisputed evidence shows that the relevant insurance policy does not provide coverage for T.M.'s emotional injuries, I will grant summary judgment to Amica on that claim. I lack jurisdiction to determine whether the policy covers T.M.'s other injuries.


         T.M. is a mentally disabled adult woman who is represented in this action by her legal guardian, D.P.[1] The estate of M.R. is represented by D.B.[2]

         Between January and March 2012, T.M. had several sexual encounters with M.R. Some of these encounters involved third persons, and some were photographed and video recorded and later displayed to others without T.M.'s consent. T.M. suffered physical and emotional injuries from this abusive sexual relationship.

         During this period, M.R.'s residence was insured with Amica through a homeowners insurance policy that provided coverage for bodily injury to third parties caused by an accident occurring at the residence, with such coverage subject to various exclusions. Amica also offered optional coverage to its insureds extending liability coverage for personal injury to others, such as for invasion of privacy.

         In August 2016, T.M. issued a demand letter to Amica to settle all claims for harms to her caused by M.R. The letter detailed the emotional injuries suffered by T.M. and also referred to an instance of physical injury that occurred during the relationship. Amica concluded there was no coverage under the policy and filed this declaratory judgment action.

         In this litigation, T.M. contends that M.R.'s policy included the optional coverage extending personal injury liability and that she is therefore entitled to recover under the policy for the emotional injury she sustained as a result of M.R.'s invasion of her privacy. Amica argues that this optional coverage was not a part of M.R.'s policy of insurance and that therefore T.M. cannot recover under the policy for her emotional injuries. Amica also argues that policy exclusions preclude T.M.'s recovery for bodily injuries arising from M.R.'s conduct, to which T.M. responds that she seeks no such recovery.

         Summary Judgment Standard

         Summary judgment must be granted when the pleadings and proffer of evidence demonstrate that no genuine issue of material fact exists 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, 322-23 (1986); Torgerson v. City of Rochester, 643 F.3d 1031, 1042 (8th Cir. 2011) (en banc). I must view the evidence in the light most favorable to the nonmoving party and accord it the benefit of all reasonable inferences. Scott v. Harris, 550 U.S. 372, 379 (2007).

         Initially, the moving party must demonstrate the absence of an issue for trial. Celotex, 477 U.S. at 323. Once a motion is properly made and supported, the nonmoving party may not rest upon the allegations in its pleadings or in general denials of the movant's assertions, but must instead proffer admissible evidence that demonstrates a genuine issue of material fact. Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(c); Conseco Life Ins. Co. v. Williams, 620 F.3d 902, 910 (8th Cir. 2010); Howard v. Columbia Pub. Sch. Dist., 363 F.3d 797, 800-01 (8th Cir. 2004).

         If the nonmoving party fails to properly address an assertion of fact made by the movant, the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure permit me to consider the fact undisputed. Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(e)(2). The Local Rules of this Court, however, require it. Under Local Rule 4.01(E), moving parties must include a statement of uncontroverted material facts with their memorandum, with citations to the record if the fact(s) are established by the record.

Every memorandum in opposition shall include a statement of material facts as to which the party contends a genuine issue exists. Those matters in dispute shall be set forth with specific references to portions of the record, where available, upon which the opposing party relies. The opposing party also shall note for all disputed facts the paragraph number from movant's listing of facts. All matters set forth in the statement of the movant ...

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