United States District Court, D. Massachusetts
MEMORANDUM & ORDER
Nathaniel M. Gorton, United States District Judge.
case involves a dispute about coverage under an insurance
policy and, specifically, whether the owner of a speed boat
is indemnified with respect to a purported boating accident
that occurred in Boston Harbor. Kevin & Donna Maclean
(“plaintiffs” or “the Macleans”) seek
a declaratory judgment that Travelers Insurance Company
(“Travelers” or “defendant”) is
obligated to indemnify and defend William Fallon
(“Fallon”), the owner of the M/V NIKKI, in a tort
action arising from that incident. The tort claim is the
subject of a separate proceeding, Maclean v. Boston
Harbor Mini Speed Boats (14-cv-14288) (“the
underlying action”), which is also pending in this
before this Court is defendant's motion to dismiss for
lack of subject matter jurisdiction and for failure to state
a claim upon which relief can be granted. For the following
reasons, that motion will be denied with respect to subject
matter jurisdiction but allowed for failure to state a claim.
August, 2013, the Macleans boarded the M/V NIKKI to enjoy a
“lightning speedboat adventure”. According to the
Macleans, the speedboat was traveling at a high rate of speed
when it crossed the wake of another boat, tossing the
plaintiffs into the air. They allege that when they crashed
down onto the vessel they were seriously injured.
Commercial Marine Insurance Policy that is the subject matter
of this action was issued by Travelers Property Casualty
Company of America to William Fallon, effective from June 26,
2013 to June 26, 2014 (“the policy”). Although
the renewed policy was in effect at the time of the alleged
incident, the vessel was operated by Martin Cahill who was
not named as an operator under the Named Operator Endorsement
to the policy until two days after the accident. Travelers
asserts that Cahill's operation of the vessel breached a
policy warranty and, accordingly, it owes no duty to
indemnify or defend Mr. Fallon in the underlying action.
filed the present complaint in June, 2016, seeking 1) a
declaration of rights that the policy covers the
plaintiff's alleged injuries; 2) a declaration of rights
that Travelers is obligated to indemnify and defend Mr.
Fallon; and 3) costs and other relief the Court deems fair
and appropriate. In response, the defendant filed the motion
to dismiss currently before the court.
the Court agrees that Mr. Cahill's involvement breached
the Named Operator Warranty, defendant's motion to
dismiss will be allowed.
dispute turns on two provisions of the Commercial Marine
Insurance Policy. First, the policy's choice of law
provision provides that “[t]his policy shall be
interpreted in accordance with the provisions of Federal
Maritime Insurance Law.”
the policy contains a Named Operator Endorsement, which
provides in relevant part:
Named Operator means the Named Insured and any other person,
so designated by the Named Insured and approved by Us, to
operate the insured vessel. Named Operators approved to
operate the insured vessel are listed on the Named Operator
Schedule included with this endorsement.
It is hereby warranted that all coverage provided under this
policy is null and void when the insured vessel is operated
by anyone other than those persons listed on the Named
2017, Fallon “unconditionally and irrevocably”
and “for good and valuable consideration
received” assigned his rights under the policy to the
Macleans for ...