United States District Court, S.D. Indiana, Indianapolis Division
ORDER ON CROSS-MOTIONS FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT
WALTON PRATT, JUDGE
matter is before the Court on cross-motions for partial
summary judgment filed pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil
Procedure 56 by Intervenor Plaintiff Unitrin Preferred
Insurance Company (“Unitrin”) (Filing No.
128) and Intervenor Defendant Privilege Underwriters,
Inc. (“PURE”) (Filing No. 132). Unitrin
and PURE, two insurance companies, seek declaratory judgment
regarding their contractual duties to defend Jane Smith, a
now terminated defendant in this civil rights and defamation
action. For the following reasons, the Court
denies Unitrin's Motion for Partial
Summary Judgment and grants PURE's
Motion for Partial Summary Judgment.
fall of 2014, Plaintiff Christian Ayala (“Ayala”)
was a fulltime, freshman undergraduate student at Defendant
Butler University (“Butler”) in Indianapolis,
Indiana. He was an excellent student, maintaining a
“B” grade point average (Filing No. 13 at
approximately midnight on Saturday, April 18, 2015, Ayala
decided to attend a party with some friends. While at the
party, Ayala approached Jane Smith, a fellow Butler student,
and began talking with her. Ayala and Jane Smith began
dancing together and eventually left the party together
around 2:00 a.m. on Sunday, April 19, 2015. Jane Smith
informed her girlfriends that she was going back to her own
dormitory room. However, Ayala and Jane Smith actually went
to Ayala's dorm room where they engaged in sexual
activity. After engaging in sexual activity, there was a
knock on the bedroom door. Ayala opened the door, whereupon
Jane Smith's friend saw her unclothed and demanded to
know why she had lied about going back to the dorm. Jane
Smith was humiliated and embarrassed, so she told her friend
that she had been sexually assaulted by Ayala. Id.
began an investigation of the alleged sexual assault on April
20, 2015, but before the investigation even began, Jane
Smith's father exerted pressure on Butler to expel Ayala.
Id. at 13. Defendant Martha Dwizlik
(“Dwizlik”), a Butler employee, conducted the
investigation of the allegation. Sometime later, Dwizlik
acknowledged being told by Jane Smith that Jane Smith allowed
Ayala to undress her without any objection while they were in
his dorm room. Id. at 14.
university grievance hearing was held against Ayala on May
14, 2015. Id. at 15. At the grievance hearing,
“‘JANE SMITH' herself testified that
she never said or did anything to indicate to
Plaintiff, either before or during their physical contact,
that she was not consenting to same.”
(Filing No. 13 at 2 (emphasis in original).) The
overwhelming evidence presented at the hearing was that the
sexual activity between Ayala and Jane Smith was consensual.
However, the grievance panel placed the burden on Ayala to
prove his innocence, and the panel decided that the proper
outcome was to expel Ayala from Butler. Ayala attempted to
reverse the panel's decision through Butler's
administrative appeals process, but his efforts were
unavailing. Id. at 2-4. No grievance proceedings
were ever initiated against Jane Smith. Id. at 2.
alleged non-consensual sexual activity occurred on April 19,
2015; the panel convened a one-day hearing on May 14, 2015;
and Ayala was “served with the Final Determination
letter on May 18, 2015, which informed him of the Panel's
decision and the sanction imposed by the school.”
Id. at 5. The panel recommended expulsion. After
being expelled from Butler, Ayala suffered emotional distress
and applied to attend various other universities. His
applications were rejected by seven universities because of
his expulsion from Butler. Id. at 6.
23, 2016, Ayala initiated this lawsuit against Butler, Jane
Smith,  and various Butler employees who
participated in his expulsion. Ayala asserted claims for
civil rights violations, defamation, breach of contract,
negligent infliction of emotional distress, and other tort
claims (Filing No. 13). In April 2017, Unitrin filed
a Motion to Intervene in this action because it had issued an
insurance policy to Jane Smith's parents, Jane Smith
asserted that Unitrin's coverage might be implicated, and
Unitrin wanted a declaratory judgment to determine whether
its policy was implicated (Filing No. 43).
Smith's parents also had a homeowners and umbrella policy
with PURE issued on April 29, 2015 with coverage through
April 29, 2016. (Filing No. 133-1.) In September
2017, Unitrin amended its intervenor complaint to add PURE as
an intervenor defendant, asserting that PURE owed a duty to
defend Jane Smith against Ayala's complaint and to
reimburse Unitrin for defense costs (Filing No. 78).
In April 2018, Unitrin and PURE filed their cross-motions for
summary judgment (Filing No. 128; Filing No.
SUMMARY JUDGMENT STANDARD
purpose of summary judgment is to “pierce the pleadings
and to assess the proof in order to see whether there is a
genuine need for trial.” Matsushita Elec. Indus.
Co. v. Zenith Radio Corp., 475 U.S. 574, 587 (1986).
Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 56 provides that summary
judgment is appropriate if “the pleadings, depositions,
answers to interrogatories, and admissions on file, together
with the affidavits, if any, show that there is no genuine
issue as to any material fact and that the moving party is
entitled to a judgment as a matter of law.”
Hemsworth v. Quotesmith.com, Inc., 476 F.3d 487,
489-90 (7th Cir. 2007). In ruling on a motion for summary
judgment, the court reviews “the record in the light
most favorable to the non-moving party and draw[s] all
reasonable inferences in that party's favor.”
Zerante v. DeLuca, 555 F.3d 582, 584 (7th Cir. 2009)
(citation omitted). “However, inferences that are
supported by only speculation or conjecture will not defeat a
summary judgment motion.” Dorsey v. Morgan
Stanley, 507 F.3d 624, 627 (7th Cir. 2007) (citation and
quotation marks omitted). Additionally, “[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.”
Hemsworth, 476 F.3d at 490 (citation omitted).
“The opposing party cannot meet this burden with
conclusory statements or speculation but only with
appropriate citations to relevant admissible evidence.”
Sink v. Knox County Hosp., 900 F.Supp. 1065, 1072
(S.D. Ind. 1995) (citations omitted).
much the same way that a court is not required to scour the
record in search of evidence to defeat a motion for summary
judgment, nor is it permitted to conduct a paper trial on the
merits of [the] claim.” Ritchie v. Glidden
Co., 242 F.3d 713, 723 (7th Cir. 2001) (citations and
quotation marks omitted). “[N]either the mere existence
of some alleged factual dispute between the parties nor the
existence of some metaphysical doubt as to the material facts
is sufficient to defeat a motion for summary judgment.”
Chiaramonte v. Fashion Bed Grp., Inc., 129 F.3d 391,
395 (7th Cir. 1997) (citations and quotation marks omitted).
same standards apply even when each side files a motion for
summary judgment. The existence of cross-motions for summary
judgment does not imply that there are no genuine issues of
material fact. R.J. Corman Derailment Serv., LLC v.
Int'l Union of Operating Eng'rs., 335 F.3d 643,
647 (7th Cir. 2003). The process of taking the facts in the
light most favorable to the non-moving party, first for one
side and then for the other, may reveal that neither side has
enough to prevail without a trial. Id. at 648.
“With cross-motions, [the Court's] review of the
record requires that [the Court] construe all inferences in
favor of the party against whom the motion under
consideration is made.” O'Regan v. Arbitration
Forums, Inc., 246 F.3d 975, 983 (7th Cir. 2001)
(citation and quotation marks omitted).