United States District Court, W.D. Oklahoma
THE TRAVELERS INDEMNITY COMPANY OF CONNECTICUT, a foreign corporation, Plaintiff,
BEYL-DAVENPORT HOUSE MOVING, INC., an Oklahoma corporation, and DENNIS BEYL, an individual, Defendant.
TIMOTHY D. DeGIUSTI, Chief United States District Judge.
the Court is the Motion for Summary Judgment [Doc. No. 12]
filed by The Travelers Indemnity Company of Connecticut (the
“Plaintiff”) pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(a).
Defendants Dennis Beyl (“Defendant Beyl”) and
Beyl-Davenport House Moving, Inc.,
“Defendants”) filed a Response in Opposition and
Brief in Response [Doc. No. 19], to which Plaintiff has
replied [Doc. No. 20].
following are undisputed facts unless otherwise indicated.
The instant action arises out of an automobile accident on
October 26, 2016 in Perry, Oklahoma. Motion at 2.
Beyl-Davenport has an insurance policy with Plaintiff
(“Policy”) providing uninsured motorist coverage
to anyone occupying a “covered auto” or a
temporary substitute for a “covered auto.”
Id. For an insured to be covered under the policy in
a temporary substitute for a covered auto, the “covered
‘auto’ must be out of service because of its
breakdown, repair, servicing, ‘loss’ or
destruction.” Id. at 3. At the time of the
accident, the Policy identified five “covered autos,
” among them a 1981 Kenworth semi-truck
(“Kenworth”). Id. Defendant Beyl’s
personal vehicle, a 2006 GMC Sierra (“GMC”), was
not listed as a covered auto under the policy. Id.
Beyl owns and operates Beyl-Davenport. Id. at 2.
Beyl-Davenport moves homes and other large structures.
Id. In the Fall of 2016, Beyl-Davenport was hired to
move a historic home to a museum site in Perry, Oklahoma.
Id. The move was scheduled for October 27, 2016.
Id. In preparation for the scheduled move, on
October 26, 2016, Defendant Beyl, acting within the scope of
his employment, intended to drive the route he would follow
the next day. Id. On October 26, all covered autos
were in Perry, Oklahoma, being readied to make the move.
Id. at 6. More precisely, however, the Kenworth-a
covered auto-was at Sooner Corner Truck and Tire Repair
Center being serviced and repaired so the Kenworth could pass
an inspection by the Department of Transportation. Response
the Kenworth was at Sooner Corner for servicing and repairs,
Defendant Beyl chose to use his personal truck, the GMC, to
drive his scheduled route for the next day’s move.
Id. Had the Kenworth not been in the shop, Defendant
Beyl indicates that the Kenworth would have been used on the
preparatory drive. Response at 5. As Defendant Beyl set out on
this drive, the GMC experienced mechanical problems, which
prompted Defendant Beyl to drive the GMC to a mechanic shop
for repairs. Motion at 5.
the shop, Defendant Beyl called Brett Powers
(“Powers”) to pick him up so they could continue
the preparatory drive as Defendant Beyl had intended from the
outset. Id. Powers picked Defendant Beyl up in a
1995 Ford Explorer (“Explorer”), not listed as a
covered auto under the Policy. Response at 2. While on the
drive in the Explorer, Powers and Defendant Beyl were
involved in a collision, after which Defendant Beyl presented
a claim for underinsured motorist benefits under the Policy.
Response at 2. Plaintiff responded by filing this declaratory
judgment is proper “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.” Fed.R.Civ.P.
56(a); Universal Underwriters Ins. Co. v. Winton,
818 F.3d 1103, 1105 (10th Cir. 2016). “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, ” and “[a]n issue of fact is
‘material’ if under the substantive law it is
essential to the proper disposition of the claim.”
Adler v. Wal-Mart Stores, Inc., 144 F.3d 664, 670
(10th Cir. 1998) (citing Anderson v. Liberty Lobby,
Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 248 (1986)).
Court’s inquiry must be whether the evidence, when
viewed “through the prism of the substantive
evidentiary burden, ” Anderson, 477 U.S. at
254, “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.” Id. at
251–52. Although the Court views all facts in the light
most favorable to the nonmoving party at the summary judgment
stage, “there is no issue for trial unless there is
sufficient evidence favoring the nonmoving party for a jury
to return a verdict for that party.” Id. at
now moves for summary judgment, asking the Court to find, as
a matter of law, that because Defendant Beyl was not
occupying a covered auto or temporary substitute under the
Policy at the time of the accident, coverage does not apply.
Motion at 8.
interpretation of an insurance contract is governed by state
law and, sitting in diversity, the Court looks to the law of
the forum state. See Braun v. Annesley, 936 F.2d
1105, 1108 (10th Cir. 1991).
Oklahoma law related to insurance contracts, ‘[t]he
terms of the parties’ contract, if unambiguous . . .
are accepted in their plain and ordinary sense, and the
contract will be enforced to carry out the intentions of the
parties as it existed at the time of the
contract.’” Am. Cas. Co. v. Fed. Deposit Ins.
Corp.,958 F.2d 324, 326 (10th Cir. 1992) (quoting
Dodson v. St. Paul Ins. Co., 812 P.2d 372, 376
(Okla. 1991)). Where a genuine ambiguity exists in an
insurance policy, Oklahoma courts will interpret the contract
against the carrier. See Hous. Gen. Ins. Co. v. Am. Fence
Co.,115 F.3d ...