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Colony Insurance Co. v. Al & Sons Corp.

United States District Court, M.D. Alabama, Eastern Division

June 22, 2015

COLONY INSURANCE COMPANY, as subrogee for Regeneration, LLC and Roy Granger, Plaintiff,
v.
AL & SONS CORP. and AL MITCHELL, Defendants.

MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

W. HAROLD ALBRITTON, Senior District Judge.

I. INTRODUCTION

This cause is before the court on Defendants Al & Sons Corporation and Al Mitchell's (collectively, "Defendants") Motion for Summary Judgment (Doc. # 11). Also before the court are the Response in Opposition (Doc. # 13) filed by the Plaintiff, Colony Insurance Company ("Colony"), and the Defendants' Reply thereto (Doc. # 14). The court has jurisdiction on the basis of diversity of citizenship.

This action arises out of a fire that occurred on the Pepperell Mill property in Opelika, Alabama on May 12, 2013. Following a settlement reached with the owner of the property in an underlying tort lawsuit, Colony, as the insurance carrier for a company overseeing work at the mill site, filed this action against its insureds' former co-defendants, Al & Sons and Al Mitchell. Colony's claim is for common law indemnity. Specifically, it seeks reimbursement for the amount it paid to settle claims against its insureds, on the grounds that it was the Defendants' conduct that caused the fire. The Defendants have moved for summary judgment on the ground that their status as joint tortfeasors with Colony's insureds in the underlying tort action precludes any indemnity claim as a matter of law.

For the reasons to be discussed, the Motion for Summary Judgment is due to be DENIED.

II. SUMMARY JUDGMENT STANDARD

Summary judgment is proper "if there is no genuine issue as to any material fact and... the moving party is entitled to a judgment as a matter of law." Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 322 (1986).

The party asking for summary judgment "always bears the initial responsibility of informing the district court of the basis for its motion, " relying on submissions "which it believes demonstrate the absence of a genuine issue of material fact." Id. at 323. Once the moving party has met its burden, the nonmoving party must "go beyond the pleadings" and show that there is a genuine issue for trial. Id. at 324.

Both the party "asserting that a fact cannot be, " and a party asserting that a fact is genuinely disputed, must support their assertions by "citing to particular parts of materials in the record, " or by "showing that the materials cited do not establish the absence or presence of a genuine dispute, or that an adverse party cannot produce admissible evidence to support the fact." Fed.R.Civ.P. 56 (c)(1)(A)-(B). Acceptable materials under Rule 56(c)(1)(A) include "depositions, documents, electronically stored information, affidavits or declarations, stipulations (including those made for purposes of the motion only), admissions, interrogatory answers, or other materials."

To avoid summary judgment, the nonmoving party "must do more than show that there is some metaphysical doubt as to the material facts." Matsushita Elec. Indus. Co. v. Zenith Radio Corp., 475 U.S. 574, 586 (1986). On the other hand, the evidence of the non-movant must be believed and all justifiable inferences must be drawn in its favor. See Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, 477 U.S. 242, 255 (1986).

After the nonmoving party has responded to the motion for summary judgment, the court shall grant summary judgment 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).

III. FACTS

The submissions of the parties establish the following facts, construed in a light most favorable to the non-movant:

Plaintiff is the insurer of and subrogee for Regeneration, LLC, which is owned by Roy Granger. Granger is the only member of the LLC. Granger partnered with Darryl Saucier of Saucier Investments to purchase the Pepperell Mill property in Opelika, Alabama in 2011. Saucier Investments was created to purchase and manage the property, and Darryl Saucier and Roy Granger assigned their purchase rights to Saucier Investments before the sale closed in November 2011. Saucier Investments and Regeneration (and Granger) then executed an agreement for the ...


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