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Capitol Specialty Insurance Corp. v. PJD Entertainment of Worcester, Inc.

United States District Court, D. Massachusetts

September 1, 2015

CAPITOL SPECIALTY INSURANCE CORPORATION, Plaintiff,
v.
PJD ENTERTAINMENT OF WORCESTER, INC. D/B/A CENTERFOLDS II, and KAILEE M. HIGGINS, Defendants

Page 177

          For Capitol Specialty Insurance Corporation, Plaintiff, Counter Defendant: Brian R. Biggie, PRO HAC VICE, Goldberg Segalla LLP, Buffalo, NY; Peter J. Barrett, Suzanne M. Whitehead, Zelle McDonough & Cohen LLP, Boston, MA.

         For PJD Entertainment of Worcester, Inc., doing business as Centerforlds II, Defendant: Meaghan L. Pomeroy, LEAD ATTORNEY, Hanover, MA; John P. Donohue, Fuller, Rosenberg, Palmer & Beliveau, Worcester, MA.

         For Kailee Higgins, Defendant, Counter Claimant: John P. Donohue, LEAD ATTORNEY, Peter A. Palmer, Fuller, Rosenberg, Palmer & Beliveau, Worcester, MA.

         For Kailee Higgins, Counter Claimant: John P. Donohue, LEAD ATTORNEY, Fuller, Rosenberg, Palmer & Beliveau, Worcester, MA.

         For PJD Entertainment of Worcester, Inc., Counter Claimant: John P. Donohue, Fuller, Rosenberg, Palmer & Beliveau, Worcester, MA.

         For Capitol Specialty Insurance Corporation, Counter Defendant: Brian R. Biggie, Goldberg Segalla LLP, Buffalo, NY; Peter J. Barrett, Suzanne M. Whitehead, Zelle McDonough & Cohen LLP, Boston, MA.

Page 178

         MEMORANDUM AND ORDER ON PLAINTIFF'S MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT (Docket No. 22) and DEFENDANT'S CROSS-MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT (Docket No. 27)

         TIMOTHY S. HILLMAN, DISTRICT JUDGE.

         Plaintiff Capitol Specialty Insurance Corporation (" Capitol Specialty" ) seeks declarations regarding its obligations under an insurance policy issued to Defendant PJD Entertainment, d/b/a Centerfolds II (" Centerfolds" ). This action arises out of an underlying personal injury lawsuit in Massachusetts Superior Court brought by Defendant Kailee Higgins (" Higgins" ) against Centerfolds. Capitol Specialty asserts that it is not obligated to defend and indemnify Centerfolds under the terms of the insurance policy. Centerfolds has filed counterclaims against Capitol Specialty for violations of M.G.L. c. 93A and 176D. The parties have cross-moved for summary judgment on two of Capitol Specialty's declaratory judgment claims. For the following reasons, Capitol Specialty's motion for summary judgment (Docket No. 22) is granted and Defendants' cross-motion for summary judgment (Docket No. 27) is denied.

         Background

         Kailee Higgins filed the underlying tort action in Massachusetts Superior Court in May 2013, asserting claims against Centerfolds for negligence and gross negligence. The state court complaint alleged that Higgins was working as a dancer at Centerfolds when management and staff served and encouraged her to consume excessive amounts of alcohol. See State Court Compl., Docket No. 25-1, ¶ 6. Higgins, then only twenty years old, became intoxicated and was obviously impaired when an employee of Centerfolds escorted Higgins to her vehicle. Id. at ¶ ¶ 7-9. Higgins drove away and, as a consequence of her intoxication, was involved in a violent motor vehicle accident. Id. at ¶ ¶ 11-13. She suffered severe injuries due to Centerfolds' service of alcohol and failure to take reasonable precautions to prevent her from driving. Id. at ¶ ¶ 6-16.

         Higgins and Centerfolds have now resolved the state court action by way of an agreement for judgment in favor of Higgins in the amount of $7.5 million. Under the terms of the settlement, Higgins has agreed to hold Centerfolds harmless for all but $50,000 of the judgment. In return, Centerfolds has assigned all rights and claims it has against Capitol Specialty to Higgins. Higgins now seeks to collect on the judgment under the insurance policy issued to Centerfolds by Capitol Specialty.

         At the time of the accident, Centerfolds was insured under a policy that provided two distinct coverages relevant to this dispute. The first coverage is contained in the " Liquor Liability Coverage Form" and provides up to $300,000 for losses sustained " by reason of the selling, serving or furnishing of any alcoholic beverage." See Liquor Liability Coverage Form, Docket No. 26-1, at 80. Capitol Specialty does not dispute that it is obligated to defend and indemnify Centerfolds under this provision. The second coverage is set forth in the " Commercial General Liability Coverage Form" (" CGL Coverage Form" ), and provides up to $1 million in coverage. See CGL Coverage Form, ...


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