United States District Court, N.D. Alabama, Middle Division
ANNEMARIE CARNEY AXON UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
matter comes before the court on a motion for summary
judgment filed by a set of parties that the court will refer
to as the Underwriters. (Doc. 192). The Underwriters are
Plaintiff Catlin Syndicated Limited (“Catlin”)
and Third Party Defendants Syndicate 1414 at Lloyd's
(“Ascot Underwriting Limited”), Syndicate 5820 at
Lloyd's (“ANV Syndicates Limited”), Syndicate
727 at Lloyd's (“S.A. Meacoch & Company
Limited”), and Syndicate 1861 at Lloyd's
(“ANV Syndicates Limited”). (Doc. 192; see
also Doc. 188 at 16).
case arises from a fire at a motel owned by Defendant Ramuji,
LLC. Peoples Independent Bank (“PIB”) was the
mortgagee of the motel, and the Underwriters provided
Ramuji's commercial insurance policy. After a fire
destroyed the motel, Catlin-one of the Underwriters-filed
this lawsuit against Ramuji and PIB, seeking, among other
things, a declaratory judgment that PIB does not have
standing to present a claim under Ramuji's insurance
policy (“Catlin's Count Two”). (Doc. 144 at
21-22). PIB filed a counterclaim against Catlin and a third
party complaint against Ascot Underwriting Limited, ANV
Syndicates Limited, S.A. Meacoch & Company Limited, and
ANV Syndicates Limited, seeking a declaratory judgment that
it is a third party beneficiary to Ramuji's insurance
policy (“PIB's Count One”), and asserting a
claim that the Underwriters breached the contract by failing
to pay PIB as a third party beneficiary (“PIB's
Count Two”). (Doc. 188 at 26-27, 32-35).
complicate matters further, before the fire, PIB had obtained
a mortgage protection policy from Great American Assurance
Company (“Great American”). (See Doc. 29
at 3). The court permitted Great American to intervene (doc.
87), and Great American filed a third party complaint
against, among others, the Underwriters, seeking a
declaratory judgment that they must cover PIB's claim
under Ramuji's policy. (Doc. 93 at 9-10).
Underwriters have now jointly moved for summary judgment on
Catlin's Count Two and PIB's Counts One and Two.
(Doc. 192). Although the motion does not address Great
American's third party claim against the Underwriters,
Great American has responded in opposition, and PIB has
joined its opposition. (Docs. 196, 197). Because PIB has not
presented any evidence creating a genuine dispute of material
fact about whether the Underwriters and Ramuji intended to
make PIB a third party beneficiary of the insurance policy,
the court WILL GRANT the Underwriters'
motion for summary judgment.
deciding a motion for summary judgment, the court
“draw[s] all inferences and review[s] all evidence in
the light most favorable to the non-moving party.”
Hamilton v. Southland Christian Sch., Inc., 680 F.3d
1316, 1318 (11th Cir. 2012) (quotation marks omitted). The
court deems the Underwriters' statement of undisputed
facts admitted because Great American and PIB did not
controvert those facts. (See Doc. 3 at 17; Doc.
192-1 at 6-16; Doc. 196 at 2-4).
owns a motel located in Boaz, Alabama. (Doc. 192-1 at 7).
Since 2004, PIB has been the mortgagee on the property. (Doc.
46 at 27-29). In May 2015, Ramuji applied for a commercial
insurance policy from Promont Advisors, LLC
(“Promont”), an agent for the Underwriters.
(Id. at 10). The application had a box titled
“Additional Interest, ” in which an applicant
would indicate if there was a mortgagee on the property.
(Doc. 90-6 at 8). Ramuji left that box unchecked and did not
otherwise disclose the existence of PIB as its mortgagee.
Underwriters' behalf, Promont issued a commercial
insurance policy to Ramuji, effective from May 9, 2015 to May
9, 2016. (Doc. 192-1 at 10). The policy lists only Ramuji as
the named insured. (Doc. 90-7 at 5). It contains a
“Mortgage Clause, ” which provides:
Loss or damage shall be payable to the mortgagee (or trustee)
named in the Declarations or by endorsement, as interest may
appear under all present or future mortgages upon the
property herein described, in order of precedence of said
mortgages. This insurance, as to the interest of the
mortgagee (or trustee) only, shall not be invalidated by:
a. Any act of neglect of the mortgagor or owner of the herein
described property . . . .
(Id. at 34). The declarations page did not name PIB
as a mortgagee (see Id. at 5-6; Doc. 192-1 at 11),
and PIB was not named in an endorsement to the policy until
after the motel was damaged in a fire on April 2, 2016 (doc.
90-7 at 60-61; Doc. 192-1 at 11).
made a fire loss claim under its policy (see doc.
144 at 15), and on April 25, 2016, almost three weeks after
the fire, it requested that Promont retroactively add PIB to
the insurance policy as a mortgagee (doc. 192-1 at 11).
Promont informed Ramuji that it could not retroactively add
PIB as a mortgagee, but it added the bank by endorsement
effective April 25, 2016. (Id.; Doc. 90-7 at 60-61).