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Esurance Insurance Co. v. Hamm

United States District Court, D. Oregon, Medford Division

April 30, 2019

ESURANCE INSURANCE COMPANY, Plaintiff,
v.
SETH HAMM; MICHELLE HAMM; EMILIO PINA, Defendants.

          OPINION & ORDER

          MICHAEL MCSHANE UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

         This matter comes before the Court on Defendant Emilio Pina's Motion for Judgment on the Pleadings, ECF No. 15, and Plaintiff Esurance Insurance Company (“Esurance”)'s Motion for Entry of Default, ECF No. 12, and Esurance's Motion for Summary Judgment, ECF No. 16.

         BACKGROUND

         Esurance is an insurance company with its principal place of business in California. Esurance issued a homeowner's insurance policy to Seth and Michelle Hamm, covering their residence in Coos County, Oregon. The policy was in effect during the relevant period and contained an exclusion for conduct which constitutes a criminal act.

         On March 18, 2018, Seth Hamm and Emilio Pina got into an altercation, during which Seth Hamm shot Pina with a firearm. On May 7, 2018, Seth Hamm pleaded guilty to Assault in the Third Degree with a firearm and was sentenced to thirty-six months in prison. Compl. Ex. C.

         On July 3, 2018, Pina sued Seth Hamm for his injuries stemming from the gunshot wound, seeking $1.6 million. Compl. Ex. D. Seth and Michelle Hamm have made a claim for Esurance to defend and indemnify Seth Hamm in that action. Esurance undertook to defend Seth Hamm under a reservation of rights. Pina subsequently dismissed his lawsuit with the intent to refile. As of yet, Pina has not refiled his suit against Seth Hamm.

         In September 2018, Esurance filed this this action for declaratory relief. Esurance seeks a judgment declaring that the applicable policy provides no coverage for Seth and Michelle Hamm for claims made by Pina in the underlying lawsuit and that Esurance has no obligation to defend or indemnify Seth and Michelle Hamm for any injuries stemming from the criminal acts of Seth Hamm on March 18, 2018.

         LEGAL STANDARDS

         Summary judgment is appropriate if the record shows that “there is no genuine dispute as to any materials fact and the [moving party] is entitled to judgment as a matter of law.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(a). Substantive law on an issue determines the materiality of a fact. T.W. Elec. Servs., Inc. v. Pac. Elect Contractors Ass'n, 809 F.2d 626, 630 (9th Cir. 1987). Whether the evidence is such that a reasonable jury could return a verdict for the nonmoving party determines the authenticity of the dispute. Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 248 (1986).

         The moving party has the burden of establishing the absence of a genuine issue of material fact. Celotex Corp. v. Caltrett, 477 U.S. 317, 323 (1986). If the moving party shows the absence of a genuine issue of material fact, the nonmoving party must go beyond the pleadings and identify facts which show a genuine issue for trial. Id. at 324.

         Special rules of construction apply when evaluating a summary judgment motion: (1) all reasonable doubts as to the existence of genuine issues of material fact should be resolved against the moving party; and (2) all inferences drawn from the underlying facts must be viewed in the light most favorable to the nonmoving party. T.W. Elec., 809 F.2d at 630-31.

         DISCUSSION

         I. Motion for Default

         Esurance has filed a Motion for Entry of Default against Pina and Michelle Hamm. ECF No. 12. Pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 55, when a party “against whom a judgment for affirmative relief is sought has failed to plead or otherwise defend, and that failure is shown by affidavit or ...


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