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Allstate Fire and Casualty Insurance Co. v. Adame

United States District Court, W.D. Oklahoma

November 21, 2016

ALLSTATE FIRE AND CASUALTY INSURANCE COMPANY, Plaintiff,
v.
LUIS ADAME, FERNANDO ABOYTES, JUAN ARAIZA, ELSYE DAMAS, JOSE BARAJAS, and JOSE COTUC, Defendants.

          ORDER

          TIMOTHY D. DeGIUSTI UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.

         In this declaratory judgment action, Plaintiff Allstate Fire and Casualty Insurance Company (Allstate) contends it owes no defense or indemnity obligations to Defendant Luis Adame (Adame) for a single-vehicle accident involving several of Adame's employees. Before the Court is Allstate's Motion for Summary Judgment [Doc. No. 29], to which Defendants have responded.[1] The matter is fully briefed and at issue.

         BACKGROUND

         The following material facts are either uncontroverted or deemed admitted, and are viewed in the light most favorable to Defendants. Lounds v. Lincare, Inc., 812 F.3d 1208, 1220 (10th Cir. 2015).

         Adame is the owner of LA Painting (LAP). In connection with his business, Adame owned a 1997 Ford Econoline van that was insured under an automobile policy, Policy No. 985 328 727, issued by Allstate (the Policy). The Policy stated, in pertinent part:

Exclusions - What Is Not Covered
We will not pay for any damages an insured person is legally obligated to pay because of:
6. bodily injury to an employee of any insured person[2] arising out of or in the course of employment. …
7. bodily injury to a co-worker injured in the course of employment. …

         (Emphasis in original). Defendants Cotuc, Aboytes, Araiza, Damas, and Barajas were employees of LAP and Adame permitted Cotuc to drive the van as part of his employment. On July 12, 2014, Aboytes, Araiza, Damas, and Barajas were passengers in the van being driven by Cotuc. They were returning from a job site to LA Painting when they were involved in a single-vehicle accident. At the time of the accident, Aboytes, Araiza, Damas, Barajas, and Cotuc were acting within the course and scope of their employment with LAP. Adame did not have workers' compensation insurance. On March 26, 2015, Aboytes, Araiza, and Barajas filed suit in Oklahoma County District Court against Cotuc and Adame, seeking damages for injuries suffered in the accident.

         Allstate contends summary judgment is appropriate because (1) under Oklahoma's Financial Responsibility Law, the Policy bars coverage for claims against Adame and Cotuc for on-the-job injuries, and (2) under Oklahoma's Administrative Workers' Compensation Act, Cotuc is statutorily immune from suit brought by his co-workers for injuries arising from the accident.

         STANDARD OF DECISION

         Rule 56(a), Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, provides that “[t]he court shall grant 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.” The Court's function at the summary judgment stage is not to weigh the evidence and determine the truth of the matter asserted, but to determine whether there is a genuine issue for trial. Birch v. Polaris Indus., Inc., 812 F.3d 1238, 1251 (10th Cir. 2015). An issue is “genuine” if there is sufficient evidence on each side so that a rational trier of fact could resolve the issue either way. Adler v. Wal-Mart Stores, Inc., 144 F.3d 664, 670 (10th Cir. 1998). An issue of fact is “material” if under the substantive law it is essential to the proper disposition of the claim. Id.

         Once the moving party has met its burden, the burden shifts to the nonmoving party to present sufficient evidence in specific, factual form to establish a genuine factual dispute. Bacchus Indus., Inc. v. Arvin Indus., Inc., 939 F.2d 887, 891 (10th Cir. 1991). The nonmoving party may not rest upon the mere allegations or denials of its pleadings. Rather, it must go beyond the pleadings and establish, through admissible evidence, that there is a genuine issue of material fact that must be resolved by the trier of fact. Salehpoor v. Shahinpoor, 358 F.3d 782, ...


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