United States District Court, W.D. Virginia, Abingdon Division
B. Mumford, Jr., and Lindsay L. Rollins, Hancock, Daniel
& Johnson, P.C., Glen Allen, Virginia, Robert D. Moseley,
Jr., and Megan M. Early-Soppa, Greenville, South Carolina,
Charles A. Stacy, The Charles A. Stacy Law Office &
Personal Injury Center, PLLC, Bluefield, Virginia, for
Defendant Michelle Reynolds Streeby, Administrator of the
Estate of Michael Eugene Reynolds, Deceased.
OPINION AND ORDER
P. Jones, United States District Judge
plaintiff, an automobile liability insurance company, seeks a
declaration pursuant to the diversity jurisdiction of this
court that it has no obligation under its policy to provide
coverage, including a duty to defend, arising from an
accident in which the defendant's decedent was killed.
The plaintiff has moved for summary judgment in its favor,
which motion has been fully briefed. For the following
reasons, I will grant summary judgment for the insurance
facts are not in dispute. Michelle Reynolds Streeby, as the
Administrator of the Estate of Michael Eugene Reynolds,
Deceased (the “Administrator”) filed a wrongful
death action in a Virginia state court arising from a motor
vehicle accident that killed her decedent. The defendants in
the state court action are Bryant Jones, doing business as
Jones Trucking (“Jones”), and Brandon Blevins. It
is alleged that Blevins, the other driver, while acting
within the scope of his employment by Jones, negligently
caused the accident that killed Reynolds.
Northern Insurance Company (“Progressive”) then
filed the present declaratory judgment action, in which it
alleges that the tractor and trailer being operated by
Blevins were owned by Jones. It further alleges that Blevins
and B K & K Trucking, Inc. (“B K & K”),
of Tazewell, Virginia, were named insureds under a liability
insurance policy issued by Progressive (the
“Policy”). It contends that the tractor and trailer
owned by Jones and operated by Blevins were not covered under
the Policy at the time of the accident. It thus concludes
that Progressive's Policy affords no coverage for
liability arising from the accident and seeks a declaration
that Progressive had no duty to defend or indemnify Jones,
Blevins, or B K & K. Compl. ¶ 22, ECF No. 1.
present action, Progressive has named and served as
defendants Jones, Blevins, B K & K, and the
Administrator. Jones, Blevins, and B K & K did not
respond to the suit and have been declared in default.
See Fed. R. Civ. P. 55(a). The Administrator
answered and has opposed Progressive's Motion for Summary
Judgment, which is ripe for decision.
judgment is appropriate if there are no material facts in
dispute and 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).
has submitted a certified copy of the Policy and its
Declarations, which the defendant Administrator does not
dispute. Mem. Supp. Pl.'s Mot. Summ. J. Ex. E, ECF No.
32-5. The Policy specifically provides that it applies only
to covered vehicles that are listed on the Declarations for
the Policy. Id. at Policy 1. Neither the tractor nor
the trailer which Blevins was operating at the time of the
accident are so listed. Id. at Declarations 2.
regards liability coverage, the Policy provides that
will pay all sums an “insured”
legally must pay as damages because of “bodily
injury” or “property
damage” to which this insurance applies,
caused by an “accident” and
resulting from the ownership, maintenance or use of a covered
We have the right and duty to defend any
“suit” for such damages, even if
the “suit” if groundless, false
or fraudulent. However, we have no duty to
defend “suits” for
“bodily injury” or