United States District Court, W.D. Virginia, Charlottesville Division
K. MOON SENIOR UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
matter is before the Court on Plaintiffs Travelers Home &
Marine Insurance Co. and Automobile Insurance Company of
Hartford, Connecticut's (collectively,
“Travelers”) Motion for Summary Judgment, Dkt.
15, and Defendant Christopher Lander's Cross-Motion for
Partial Summary Judgment. Dkt. 17. Travelers issued a
homeowners policy and an umbrella policy to Lander, a
physician specializing in pain management, who has been sued
in state court by former coworkers, Defendants Dr. Rasheed
Siddiqui and Sherri Johnson, after allegedly brandishing a
gun outside of their pain management practice. Dkt 1. In its
Motion for Summary Judgment, Travelers seeks a declaratory
judgment that it has no duty to defend or indemnify Lander in
the underlying action under either the homeowners or umbrella
policy, arguing that (1) the underlying incident does not
constitute an “occurrence” under either policy;
(2) the policies do not cover injuries that are
“expected or intended” by the insured; and (3)
the policies only cover occurrences resulting in
“bodily injury.” Dkt. 16.
Cross-Motion for Summary Judgment, Lander seeks a declaratory
judgment that Travelers owes him a duty to defend under both
policies, arguing that the underlying action does allege a
covered “occurrence” that resulted in bodily
injury and that it is not subject to an exclusion. Dkt. 18.
Because the Court concludes that the underlying incident does
not constitute an “occurrence” under either
policy, the Court will grant Travelers' Motion for
Summary Judgment and issue a declaratory judgment that
Travelers is not obligated by either policy to defend Lander
in the underlying actions.
following is undisputed by the parties. Travelers issued a
homeowners policy to Lander with a policy period from August
15, 2016 to August 15, 2017. Dkt. 7 at 24. The homeowners
policy provides coverage for suits brought against the
insured “because of ‘bodily injury' or
‘property damage' caused by an
‘occurrence' to which this coverage applies.”
Dkt. 1, ¶ 26; see also Dkt. 1, ex. 3. The
policy defines “bodily injury” as “bodily
harm, sickness or disease, including required care, loss of
services and death that results.” Dkt. 1, ¶ 27. An
“occurrence” is defined as “an accident,
including continuous or repeated exposure to substantially
the same general harmful conditions, which results . . .
in” bodily injury or property damage. Id.
II of the homeowners policy contains an exclusion providing
that coverage does not extend to “bodily injury”
or “property damage” “which is expected or
intended by an ‘insured' even if the resulting
‘bodily injury' or ‘property
damage'” in question is “of a different kind,
quality or degree than initially expected or intended; or . .
. is sustained by a different person, entity, real or
personal property, than initially expected or
intended.” Id. ¶ 28.
also issued Lander an umbrella policy. This policy provides
coverage for “damages for which an ‘insured'
becomes legally liable due to ‘bodily injury,'
‘property damage,' or ‘personal injury'
caused by an ‘occurrence.'” Id.
¶ 31; see also Dkt. 1, ex. 4. “Bodily
injury” is defined as “bodily harm, sickness or
disease, ” including “required care, loss of
services, death and mental anguish that results.” Dkt.
1, ¶ 33. An “occurrence” is defined as
“[a]n accident, including continuous or repeated
exposure to substantially the same general conditions, that
results in ‘bodily injury' or ‘property
damage' during the policy period.” Id.
umbrella policy also contains an exclusion providing that
coverage does not extend to “‘bodily injury'
or ‘property damage' arising out of an act which is
expected or intended by an ‘insured' to cause
‘bodily injury' or ‘property damage,
'” even if the injury or damage “[i]s of a
different kind, quality or degree than expected or intended;
or . . . [i]s sustained by a different person or entity than
expected or intended.” Id. ¶ 34.
Rasheed Siddiqui and Sherri Johnson, also named as Defendants
by Travelers in the present action, each filed suit against
Lander in Albemarle County Circuit Court for conduct Lander
engaged in on and leading up to November 21, 2016. Dkt. 18 at
2. In Siddiqui's suit, Siddiqui alleges that he and
Lander started a pain management practice called
Charlottesville Pain Management Center, PLLC
(“CPMC”) in 2002. Dkt. 1, ¶ 10. Johnson was
subsequently retained as an employee of the practice.
Id. ¶ 10. According to the complaints, Siddiqui
came to believe in 2014 that Lander was “impaired'
while practicing at CPMC. Dkt. 1, ex. 1, ¶ 6, Dkt. 1,
ex. 2, ¶ 5. Siddiqui filed a complaint against Lander
with the Virginia Board of Medicine and staged an
intervention. Dkt. 1, ex. 1, ¶¶ 8, 11. Lander was
allegedly humiliated by the intervention and informed
Siddiqui he could no longer work at CPMC. Id.
¶¶ 14-15. Siddiqui and Johnson allege that Lander
exhibited a pattern of concerning behavior, including
following Siddiqui after work, photographing the front and
back of the CPMC office, driving past Siddiqui's home,
and requesting a key to CPMC from the doctor who managed the
building where CPMC is located. Id. ¶¶
to the complaints, on November 21, 2016, Lander purchased a
9mm Glock and 200 rounds of ammunition, consumed alcohol and
prescription pills, drove to the CPMC office, and parked
directly outside of Siddiqui's window. Id.
¶¶ 28-38. Lander then allegedly brandished the
firearm such that people in the parking lot and CPMC office
could see it, opened his car door, and fell to the ground as
he attempted to exit the vehicle. Id. ¶¶
39-41. According to the complaints, the office was locked,
patients were moved away from windows, and the police were
called while two bystanders detained Lander in the parking
lot. Id. ¶¶ 43-45. Lander is alleged to
have later pled guilty to driving under the influence and
brandishing a firearm within 1, 000 feet of a school.
Id. ¶ 59.
underlying suits each contain the following counts against
Lander: 1) intentional infliction of emotional distress; 2)
negligent infliction of emotional distress; and 3) assault.
Dkt. 1 at 21. The suits allege that Lander “knew or
should have known” that his actions would cause
emotional distress, and that Lander's actions put
Siddiqui and Johnson “in reasonable fear of imminent
physical injury.” Dkt. 1, ex. 1, ¶¶ 62, 71;
Dkt. 1, ex. 2, ¶¶ 54, 63. Siddiqui alleges that he
has lost twenty-five pounds and has experienced difficulty
eating, sleeping, and concentrating since the incident. Dkt.
1, ex. 1, ¶ 75. Johnson alleges that she has trouble
sleeping and experiences anxiety, hives, and panic attacks as
a result of the incident. Dkt. 1, ex. 2 ¶ 67.
tendered the underlying actions to Travelers for defense and
indemnification pursuant to the homeowners and umbrella
policies. Travelers is defending Lander against the
underlying suits under a reservation of rights. Dkt. 1 ¶
judgment is particularly well-suited for resolution of
insurance coverage disputes because the construction of
insurance contracts is a legal question.” Mount
Vernon Fire Ins. Co. v. Adamson, No. 3:09-cv-817, 2010
WL 3937336, at *1-2, (E.D. Va. Sept. 15, 2010) (citations
omitted). Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(a) provides that a court should
award summary judgment “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.” “A
dispute is genuine if a reasonable jury could return a
verdict for the nonmoving party, ” and “[a] fact
is material if it might affect the outcome of the suit under
the governing law.” Variety Stores, Inc. v.
Wal-Mart Stores, Inc., 888 F.3d 651, 659 (4th Cir.
2018). The nonmoving party must “show that there is a
genuine dispute of material fact for trial . . . by offering
sufficient proof ...