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Tracy v. USAA Casualty Insurance Co.

United States District Court, S.D. Alabama, Northern Division

May 7, 2019

JESSICA TRACY, et al., Plaintiffs,
v.
USAA CASUALTY INSURANCE COMPANY, Defendant.

          MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

          JEFFREY U. BEAVERSTOCK UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

         This matter is before the Court on Defendant USAA Casualty Insurance Company's Motion for Summary Judgment. (Doc. 34). After reviewing the submissions of the parties, the record, the law, and having heard oral argument, the Court finds this motion is well taken.

         I. FACTS

         On or about July 2, 2015, a house at 265 Adams Drive, Pine Apple, Alabama that Plaintiff Jessica Tracy owned was damaged by a fire (Doc. 1-1, p. 4). At the time of the fire, the house was insured under a homeowners policy issued by Defendant. (Doc. 1-2). Mrs. Tracy obtained the homeowners policy five days before the fire occurring. (Doc. 35-2, p. 3). Mrs. Tracy and her husband Edward Tracy (“Plaintiffs”) claimed to both have had items in the house damaged by the fire. (Doc. 1-1).

         After the fire occurred, Plaintiffs demanded the policy limits available under Mrs. Tracy's homeowners policy for Coverage A- Dwelling, Coverage C- Personal Property, Coverage D-Additional Living Expense, and Additional Coverage- Debris Removal. (Doc. 35-2; Doc. 1-4).

         Defendant inspected the property and conducted its claim investigation immediately following the fire. However, Plaintiffs delayed providing, and sometimes failed to provide, Defendant with certain information and documents requested during the investigation of the claim and postponed their examinations under oath. (Doc. 35-2, p. 4).

         But Defendant paid the policy limits of $241, 000 available under Coverage A- Dwelling, advanced six months of additional living expenses under Coverage D- Additional Living Expense, and paid an agreed upon amount for Additional Coverage- Debris Removal. Defendant did not pay the full benefits Plaintiffs claimed under Coverage C- Personal Property given that Plaintiffs did not provide an inventory and supporting documentation to support said claim. (Doc. 35-2, p. 5). Defendant also did not pay benefits over six months under Coverage D- Additional Living Expense given that Plaintiffs did not provide receipts to support any additional funds being paid. (Id.).

         Before suing, Plaintiffs did not request that Defendant provide any of the following benefits under the applicable homeowners policy or provide any documentation to Defendant to support these various coverage categories: Outbuildings; Trees/shrubs/lawns/; Special Refrigerator/Freezer Contents; Home Locks; Pine Apple Volunteer Fire Department fee; Electronic Media; Waiver of Deductible for Military Personal Property; Reimbursement of any Premium Amount. (Doc. 35-2, p. 8).

         Plaintiffs alleged that Defendant breached the policy of insurance and committed bad faith by not paying more than it did and purportedly delaying payment of their homeowners claim (Doc. 1-1). Defendant moves for summary judgment on Plaintiffs' claims for breach of contract (Count I), bad faith (Count VI), negligent infliction of emotional distress (Count III), intentional infliction of emotional distress (Count IV), and misrepresentation (Count V).[1]

         When Plaintiffs filed their Response in Opposition to Defendant's Motion for Summary Judgment (Doc. 42) (“Response Brief”), they failed, under Rule 56, Fed. R. Civ. P., to submit any affidavits, deposition testimony, or other relevant and admissible evidence to rebut Defendant's properly supported Motion for Summary Judgment, and supported none of the allegations or conclusory statements made in their Response Brief with specific, pinpoint citations to the record as required by S.D. Ala. Civ. R. 56.[2] Thus, all material facts in the Narrative Statement of Undisputed Material Facts section of Defendant's Motion for Summary Judgment are deemed admitted.

         II. ANALYSIS

         Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 56(a) provides that “[t]he 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.” The Eleventh Circuit has held that:

[s]ummary judgment is appropriate if the evidence before the court shows 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. In making this determination, the court must view all evidence and make all reasonable inferences in favor of the party opposing summary judgment.
The mere existence of some factual dispute will not defeat summary judgment unless that factual dispute is material to an issue affecting the outcome of the case. The relevant rules of substantive law dictate the materiality of a disputed fact. A genuine issue of material fact does not exist unless there is sufficient evidence favoring the nonmoving party for a reasonable jury to return a verdict in its favor.

Chapman v. AI Transport, 229 F.3d 1012, 1023 (11th Cir. 2000)(quoting Haves v. City of Miami, 52 F.3d 918, 921 (11th Cir. 1995))(alteration in original).

         A. Defendant's Motion for Summary Judgment as to Plaintiffs' ...


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