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State Farm Fire & Casualty Co. v. Scott

United States District Court, N.D. Oklahoma

June 27, 2018

STATE FARM FIRE & CASUALTY COMPANY, Plaintiff,
v.
DAVID SCOTT, as Administrator of the Estate of Stephen A. Schmauss; STANLEY VERNON MAJORS; and VICTORIA WILLIAMS, as Personal Representative of the Estate of Khalid Jabara, Defendants.

          OPINION AND ORDER

          CLAIRE V. EAGAN UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

         Now before the Court are plaintiff State Farm Fire and Casualty Company's (State Farm) motion for summary judgment (Dkt. # 26), and defendant Victoria Williams's motion to certify question of law to the Oklahoma Supreme Court (Dkt. # 27).[1]

         I.

         On August 12, 2016, defendant Stanley Vernon Majors shot and killed his neighbor Khalid Jabara, Williams's brother. Dkt. # 26-1. On February 7, 2018, a jury in the District Court in and for Tulsa County, State of Oklahoma, found Majors guilty of murder in the first degree in violation of Okla. Stat. tit. 21, § 701.7. Dkt. # 26-3; Dkt. # 28, at 7.[2] Stephen Schmauss, Majors's now deceased husband, owned the gun Majors used to kill Jabara. Dkt. # 26-1. Williams asserts that, on the day Majors killed Jabara, Schmauss bought Majors alcohol. Dkt. # 28, at 6. In addition, Williams contends that Majors tormented the Jabara family for many years-including running over Jabara's mother in 2015-because Majors, mistakenly, believed the Jabaras are Muslim (in fact, they are Christian emigrants from Lebanon). Id.

         At the time Majors killed Jabara, plaintiff had issued a homeowners' policy to named insureds Schmauss and Majors. Plaintiff had also issued to Schmauss a personal liability umbrella policy (PLUP). The homeowners' policy provides:

COVERAGE L - PERSONAL LIABILITY
If a claim is made or a suit is brought against an insured for damages because of bodily injury or property damage to which this coverage applies, caused by an occurrence, we will:
1. pay up to our limit of liability for the damages for which the insured is legally liable; and
2. provide a defense at our expense by counsel of our choice. We may make any investigation and settle any claim or suit that we decide is appropriate. Our obligation to defend any claim or suit ends when the amount we pay for damages to effect settlement or satisfy a judgment resulting from the occurrence, equals our limit of liability.

Dkt. # 26-7, at 23. The homeowners' policy defines bodily injury as “physical injury, sickness, or disease to a person. This includes required care, loss of services and death resulting therefrom.” Id. at 9. Additionally, the homeowners' policy states:

‘occurrence . . .' means an accident, including exposure to conditions, which results in:
a. bodily injury; or
b. property damage.

Id. at 10. The homeowners' policy does not define accident. Additionally, it excludes coverage for “bodily injury or property damage: (1) which is either expected or intended by the insured; or (2) which is the result of willful and malicious acts of the insured.” Id. at 24. The homeowners' policy also contains a “severability of insurance” clause, which states, “[t]his insurance applies separately to each insured ...


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