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Illinois National Insurance Co v. Ionut M. Temian

March 23, 2011

ILLINOIS NATIONAL INSURANCE CO., PLAINTIFF,
v.
IONUT M. TEMIAN, DARRELL L. HINES, JASON BROWN AND ALFREDA BROWN, DEFENDANTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Paul R. Cherry United States District Court

OPINION AND ORDER

This matter is before the Court on Plaintiff's Motion for Judgment on the Pleadings [DE 57], filed by Plaintiff Illinois National Insurance Company on August 4, 2010. Defendants Ionut Temian, Darell Hines, Jason Brown and Alfreda Brown each filed response briefs on September 7, 2010, and Plaintiff filed a reply brief on September 17, 2010. For the reasons set forth below, the Court grants the Motion.

BACKGROUND

On August 18, 2009, Plaintiff Illinois National Insurance Company ("Illinois National") filed a Complaint for Declaratory Judgment pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2201(a) against Defendants Ionut Temian, Sunny Express, Inc., Darrell Hines, Jason Brown and Alfreda Brown, seeking a judicial declaration that neither Defendant Sunny Express, Inc. nor Defendant Temian qualify as insureds under the Illinois National policy issued to CDN Logistics Inc., which was a party in an underlying lawsuit brought by Defendants Jason and Alfreda Brown.

A Clerk's Entry of Default was issued against Sunny Express, Inc., on December 30, 2009. On April 28, 2010, all parties, with the exception of Sunny Express, Inc., filed forms of consent to have this case assigned to a United States Magistrate Judge to conduct all further proceedings and to order the entry of a final judgment in this case. Sunny Express, Inc., was severed as a party defendant on April 29, 2010. This Court has jurisdiction to decide this case pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 636(c) as to all parties other than Sunny Express, Inc.

On August 4, 2010, Illinois National Insurance Company filed a Motion for Judgment on the Pleadings. This Motion is now fully briefed and before the Court.

STANDARD OF REVIEW

A motion for judgment on the pleadings under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(c) is evaluated by the same standard as a motion to dismiss for failure to state a claim under Rule 12(b)(6). Pisciotta v. Old Nat'l Bancorp, 499 F.3d 629, 633 (7th Cir. 2007) (citing Guise v. BWM Mortgage, LLC, 377 F.3d 795, 798 (7th Cir. 2004)). When addressing a motion for judgment on the pleadings, the Court must "view the facts in the complaint in the light most favorable to the nonmoving party and will grant the motion only if it appears beyond doubt that the plaintiff cannot prove any facts that would support his claim for relief." Buchanan-Moore v. Cnty. of Milwaukee, 570 F.3d 824, 827 (7th Cir. 2009) (quoting N. Ind. Gun and Outdoor Shows, Inc. v. City of South Bend, 163 F.3d 449, 452 (7th Cir. 1998) (internal quotations omitted). When ruling on a 12(c) motion, the Court considers only the pleadings, which "include the complaint, the answer, and any written instruments attached as exhibits." N. Ind. Gun & Outdoor Shows, 163 F.3d at 452.

FACTUAL BACKGROUND

On February 17, 2007, two semi-trailers were involved in an accident on I-65 in Jasper County, Indiana. Defendants Hines and J. Brown were in one of the semi-trailers, and the other, a 2003 Freightliner Tractor Trailer Truck (the "2003 Freightliner"), was driven by Defendant Temian, acting as an independent contractor of Sunny Express, Inc.

At the time of the accident, Sunny Express held an insurance policy issued by National Indemnity Company ("NICO") in July 2006. It provided a schedule of covered autos, specifically listing three tractors and three trailers. The 2003 Freightliner involved in the accident was not listed under the NICO policy schedule. A federally mandated BMC-90 endorsement form, the predecessor to Form MCS-90, was attached to the NICO policy and dated May 30, 2006. At the time of the accident, CDN Logistics, Inc. ("CDN"), a common carrier, owned the trailer being hauled by Sunny Express's 2003 Freightliner, driven by Temian. CDN held a commercial auto policy issued by Plaintiff Illinois National, Policy No. TP989667801, effective from November 1, 2006, which contained an MCS-90 endorsement. Defendant Temian is not a named insured under either the NICO or the Illinois National policy.

Following the accident, Darrell Hines, Jason Brown and Alfreda Brown filed lawsuits against Sunny Express and Temian alleging that the accident was caused by Temian's negligent driving and seeking compensation for injuries and damages sustained as a result of the accident.

In the instant Motion, Plaintiff Illinois National requests an order entering judgment on the pleadings with respect to Defendants Temian, J. Brown, A. Brown, and Hines declaring that the Illinois National policy has no obligation to defend or indemnify Defendant Temian for the accident that is the subject of the underlying lawsuits. Defendants claim that the MCS-90 endorsement to the Illinois National policy insuring CDN triggers a duty on the part of Plaintiff Illinois National to indemnify Temian for liability arising out of injuries he negligently caused to members of the public on the grounds that he was a permissive user of the CDN trailer. Plaintiff Illinois National argues that ...


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