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James River Insurance Co. v. 5 Star Integrity Roofing & Exteriors LLC

United States District Court, W.D. Oklahoma

November 9, 2017

JAMES RIVER INSURANCE COMPANY, Plaintiff,
v.
5 STAR INTEGRITY ROOFING & EXTERIORS, LLC d/b/a RHEMA ROOFING & EXTERIORS, and INTEGRITY HOME IMPROVEMENTS, LLC d/b/a RHEMA ROOFING & EXTERIORS, Defendants.

          ORDER

          VICKI MLLES-LAGRANGE UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.

         Before the Court is plaintiff's Motion for Summary Judgment, filed September 1, 2017. On September 22, 2017, defendants filed their response, and on October 13, 2017, plaintiff filed its reply. Based upon the parties' submissions, the Court makes its determination.

         I. Introduction

         Plaintiff is a specialty insurance company. Plaintiff issued a General Liability Policy to defendant 5 Star Integrity Roofing & Exteriors, LLC d/b/a Rhema Roofing & Exteriors (“5 Star”) which covered the period February 7, 2013 to February 7, 2014 (“Policy I”). Plaintiff also issued a General Liability Policy to defendant Integrity Home Improvements, LLC d/b/a Rhema Roofing & Exteriors (“Integrity”) which covered the period of March 6, 2014 through March 6, 2015 (“Policy II”).

         On July 30, 2013, an entity identified as Rhema Roofing & Exteriors entered into a “Residential Contractors Contract” with David and Teresa Cook for the construction of a “dwelling house and appurtenant structures” on property located in Shawnee, Oklahoma. An action was filed in the District Court of Pottawatomie County, Oklahoma, which includes a counterclaim by David and Teresa Cook alleging breach of contract, violation of the Oklahoma Consumer Protection Act, unjust enrichment, slander of title, and negligent injury to property against Integrity (“Cook Counterclaim”). 5 Star and Integrity made a demand on plaintiff to provide a defense to Integrity and indemnify it for all claims and damages alleged in the Cook Counterclaim. On December 10, 2015, plaintiff denied coverage.

         On August 19, 2016, plaintiff filed the instant action seeking a declaratory judgment that there is no coverage under both Policy I and Policy II for the matters asserted in the Cook Counterclaim, that plaintiff has no duty or contractual obligation to defend defendants in the Cook Counterclaim, and that plaintiff has no duty or contractual obligation to pay for or indemnify defendants for any judgment which might be entered against them in the Cook Counterclaim. Indemnity has asserted counterclaims against plaintiff for breach of contract, breach of the duty to indemnify/breach of the duty of good faith and fair dealing, and breach of the duty to defend. Plaintiff now moves for summary judgment as to all matters in this litigation.

         II. Summary Judgment Standard

         “Summary judgment is appropriate if the record shows that there is no genuine issue as to any material fact and that the moving party is entitled to judgment as a matter of law. The moving party is entitled to summary judgment where the record taken as a whole could not lead a rational trier of fact to find for the non-moving party. When applying this standard, [the Court] examines the record and reasonable inferences drawn therefrom in the light most favorable to the non-moving party.” 19 Solid Waste Dep't Mechs. v. City of Albuquerque, 156 F.3d 1068, 1071-72 (10th Cir. 1998) (internal citations and quotations omitted).

         “Only disputes over facts that might affect the outcome of the suit under the governing law will properly preclude the entry of summary judgment. Furthermore, the non-movant has a burden of doing more than simply showing there is some metaphysical doubt as to the material facts. Rather, the relevant inquiry is whether the evidence presents a sufficient disagreement to require submission to a jury or whether it is so one-sided that one party must prevail as a matter of law.” Neustrom v. Union Pac. R.R. Co., 156 F.3d 1057, 1066 (10th Cir. 1998) (internal citations and quotations omitted).

         III. Discussion

         Plaintiff asserts that neither Policy I nor Policy II covers the events which occurred in connection with the construction of the home for David and Teresa Cook. Plaintiff further asserts that it had a good faith belief when it denied coverage.

         A. Policy I

         Plaintiff contends that it intended to provide coverage for 5 Star's activities as a roofer and not as a home builder. Plaintiff further contends that the defense and indemnity sought by 5 Star for the Cook Counterclaim was not for activities as a roofer but was for activities as a home builder and consequently there was no coverage under Policy I for the activities of 5 Star for the matters alleged in the Cook Counterclaim. Additionally, plaintiff contends the contractual liability exclusion precludes any coverage.

         “The interpretation of an insurance contract is governed by state law and, sitting in diversity, we look to the law of the forum state.” Houston Gen. Ins. Co. v. Am. Fence Co., Inc., 115 ...


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