United States District Court, E.D. Missouri, Northern Division
OPINION, MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
EDWARD AUTREY UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
matter is before the Court on Plaintiff's Motion for
Summary Judgment [Doc. No. 16]. Defendants oppose the Motion.
For the reasons set forth below, the Motion for Summary
Judgment will be granted.
February, 2015 Mid-American and Ayer entered into an oral
contract with Lehenbauer for the design and construction of a
grain storage and distribution facility [Doc. No. 25].
Mid-American and Ayer began work under the contract in or
around February 2015. They continued their work under the
contract until on or about March 15, 2016 when Lehenbauer
terminated the contract with MidAmerican and Ayer. [Doc. No.
17]. Mid-American filed suit against Lehenbauer on July 15,
2016 in the Circuit Court of Marion County, Missouri for
breach of the contract and sought damages from Lehenbauer.
[Doc. No. 25]. Lehenbauer filed its counterclaim on August
29, 2016, followed by its amended counterclaim on or about
September 5, 2018.
Family issued a “Business Key Policy” to
Mid-American, which included commercial general liability
coverage (“CGL”). The policy was in effect from
June 14, 2014 to June 14, 2015 and was renewed for the
2015-2016 policy period. The underlying claims of the lawsuit
include Breach of Contract, Negligence, and Unjust
Family's motion for summary judgment is limited solely to
the dispositive issue of whether the counterclaims allege an
“occurrence” under the applicable American Family
Judgment Standard of Review
Court may grant a motion for summary judgment if the movant
shows that there is no genuine dispute as to any material
fact and that the moving party is entitled to judgment as a
matter of law. Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(a); 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
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.
Anderson, 477 U.S. at 247. The nonmoving party may
not rest upon mere allegations or denials of its pleadings.
Id. 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.
Id. 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.
judgment is appropriate when, viewing the facts and
inferences in the light most favorable to the nonmoving
party, the pleadings, the discovery and disclosure materials
on file, and any affidavits show that there is no genuine
dispute as to any material fact and that the movant is
entitled to judgment as a matter of law. In order to survive
a motion for summary judgment, “the nonmoving party
must ‘substantiate his allegations with sufficient
probative evidence [that] would permit a finding in [her]
favor based on more than mere speculation, conjecture, or
fantasy.'” Barber v. C1 Truck Driver Training,
LLC, 656 F.3d 782, 801 (8th Cir. 2011) (quoting
Putman v. Unity Health Sys., 348 F.3d 732, 733-34
(8th Cir. 2003)) (internal quotation marks omitted).
Family argues that none of the claims in the underlying
lawsuit (Breach of Contract, Negligence, and Unjust
Enrichment) allege an “occurrence” under the
American Family Policy and under applicable law. Defendants
MidAmerican and Lehenbauer contend that the design and
construction defects caused by Mid-American's services
are covered because it is an “occurrence, ” which
is a covered event under the insurance policy.
Family's policy defines an “occurrence” to
mean “an accident, including continuous or repeated
exposure to substantially the same general harmful
conditions.” [Doc. No. 16]. Under Missouri law, an
“accident” is defined as “an event that
takes place without one's foresight or expectation; an
undesigned, sudden and unexpected event. Hence, often an
undesigned and unforeseen occurrence of an afflictive or
unfortunate character; a mishap resulting in injury to a
person or damage to a ...