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National American Insurance Co. v. Harleysville Lake State Insurance Co.

United States District Court, Southern District of Indiana, Indianapolis Division

November 14, 2014



Hon. William T. Lawrence, Judge United States District Court Southern District of Indiana

This cause is before the Court on the Defendant’s motion for summary judgment (dkt. no. 48) and the Plaintiffs’ motion for summary judgment (dkt. no. 52). The motions are fully briefed, and the Court, being duly advised, GRANTS the Defendant’s motion and DENIES the Plaintiffs’ motion for the reasons, and to the extent, set forth below.


Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 56(a) provides that summary judgment is appropriate “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.” In ruling on a motion for summary judgment, the admissible evidence presented by the non-moving party must be believed and all reasonable inferences must be drawn in the non-movant’s favor. Hemsworth v., Inc., 476 F.3d 487, 490 (7th Cir. 2007); Zerante v. DeLuca, 555 F.3d 582, 584 (7th Cir. 2009) (“We view the record in the light most favorable to the nonmoving party and draw all reasonable inferences in that party’s favor.”). However, “[a] party who bears the burden of proof on a particular issue may not rest on its pleadings, but must affirmatively demonstrate, by specific factual allegations, that there is a genuine issue of material fact that requires trial.” Id. Finally, the non-moving party bears the burden of specifically identifying the relevant evidence of record, and “the court is not required to scour the record in search of evidence to defeat a motion for summary judgment.” Ritchie v. Glidden Co., 242 F.3d 713, 723 (7th Cir. 2001).

The fact that the parties have filed cross motions for summary judgment does not alter the standard set forth in Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 56. When evaluating each side’s motion, the Court simply “construe[s] all inferences in favor of the party against whom the motion under consideration is made.” Metro Life. Ins. Co. v. Johnson, 297 F.3d 558, 561-62 (7th Cir. 2002) (quoting Hendricks-Robinson v. Excel Corp., 154 F.3d 685, 692 (7th Cir. 1998)).


This insurance dispute arises out of an accident that occurred on February 10, 2009, in Indianapolis, Indiana. The relevant facts follow.

Venture Logistics, Inc. (“Venture Logistics”) offers trucking, freight, warehouse, and brokerage services to its clients. Indy Powder Coatings was a customer of Venture Logistics. On February 10, 2009, Trevell Lasha Parker, a truck driver for Venture Logistics, went to Indy Powder Coatings to complete its trucking and hauling jobs. Robert Harden was a forklift operator for Indy Powder Coatings at the time and was unloading skids from the Venture Logistics tractor-trailer driven by Parker. After he had unloaded a few skids, Parker asked Harden if he was finished. Harden replied “no.” Nevertheless, Parker began to drive the tractor-trailer away. Worried that the forklift would fall off of the tractor-trailer as it went up a hill, Harden got off the forklift and tried to get Parker’s attention. The forklift subsequently slid down the tractor-trailer and pinned Harden against the wall. Harden was able to get one leg free, and partially fell out of the tractor-trailer. Eventually, someone honked their horn at Parker and she stopped the tractor-trailer. As a result of the accident, Harden’s leg, among other things, was seriously injured. Harden filed suit against Venture Logistics and Parker in Marion County Superior Court on February 10, 2010 (“the Harden lawsuit”).

At the time of the accident, Venture Logistics was insured by two insurance companies: State National Insurance Company (“State National”) and Harleysville Lake State Insurance Company (“Harleysville”). State National issued a Commercial Truckers Coverage Policy (“the State National Policy”) to Venture Logistics. The pertinent portions of this policy are as follow:

A. Coverage
We will pay all sums an “insured” legally must pay as damages because of “bodily injury” or property damage” to which this insurance applies, caused by an “accident” and resulting from the ownership, maintenance or use of a covered “auto.”
. . .
B. Exclusions
This insurance does not apply to any of ...

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