United States District Court, D. Massachusetts
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
B. Saris, Chief United States District Judge
long-running case arises from a car accident in Saugus,
Massachusetts, in 2010. Susan Devlin was injured in the
accident when a Ford Taurus, owned by Mary Desrosier but
driven by her son Matthew Desrosier, collided with
Devlin's car. In state court, a jury found Matthew
liable for negligent operation of a motor vehicle and Mary
liable for negligent failure to secure her vehicle from the
harmful effects of foreseeable criminal actions. Metropolitan
Property & Casualty Insurance Company
(“Metropolitan”) filed a declaratory judgment
action in this Court in 2013, seeking an order that it has no
duty to defend or indemnify Mary or Matthew. In 2015, the
Court held that Metropolitan had no duty to defend Matthew.
See Metro. Prop. & Cas. Ins. Co. v. Devlin, 95
F.Supp.3d 278, 282 (D. Mass. 2015).
on the state court verdict, Metropolitan moves for summary
judgment on the ground that the insurer has no duty to
indemnify Mary for Devlin's injuries. Alternatively,
Metropolitan argues that it is entitled to a declaratory
judgment stating that its duties to indemnify and to pay any
prejudgment interest are capped at the compulsory coverage
limit in the policy. Devlin did not submit a cross-motion for
summary judgment, but at the hearing on June 29, 2018, she
agreed that there were no questions of fact for trial and
that the Court could decide the remaining issues of
indemnification as a matter of law. See Fed.R.Civ.P.
56(f) (allowing court to grant summary judgment for nonmovant
“[a]fter giving notice and a reasonable time to
motion for summary judgment (Docket No. 112) is
ALLOWED IN PART and
DENIED IN PART, and partial summary
judgment is ALLOWED for Devlin.
Metropolitan must indemnify Mary up to the $20, 000
compulsory coverage limit.
following facts are undisputed unless otherwise stated.
Car Accident and State Court Trial
2010, Mary owned a 1998 Ford Taurus that was insured by
Metropolitan. Docket No. 117-1 ¶ 2. On October 27, 2010,
there was an accident at an intersection in Saugus, in which
Mary's Taurus rear-ended Devlin's car. See
Docket No. 117-1 ¶ 1.
was driving Mary's Taurus at the time of the accident,
Docket No. 117-1 ¶ 16, but he did not have a valid
driver's license, Docket No. 117-1 ¶ 18. Mary knew
that he was not licensed. Docket No. 117-1 ¶ 18. On the
date of the accident, Mary did not give Matthew permission to
drive her car. Docket No. 117-1 ¶ 18. In fact, Mary had
explicitly instructed Matthew never to drive her Taurus.
Docket No. 117-1 ¶ 28. She did, however, leave the car
keys unsecured and available to anyone in her house. Docket
No. 117-1 ¶ 29.
state court case, brought by Devlin against Matthew and Mary,
tried to a jury in February 2017. Docket No. 117-1 ¶ 26.
Matthew was found liable for negligent operation of the car.
See Docket No. 117-1 ¶¶ 22, 37. Against
Mary, Devlin brought two counts: one for negligent
entrustment of the Taurus, and one for negligent failure to
secure her vehicle from the harmful effects of foreseeable
criminal actions. Docket No. 117-1 ¶ 23. Judge Krupp
instructed the jury on the negligent security claim as
To establish a claim for negligent security, Ms. Devlin must
prove by a preponderance of the evidence the following four
One, that Ms. Desrosier had ownership or control of a motor
vehicle; Two, that Ms. Desrosier knew or should have known
that there was a reasonable possibility of criminal conduct
involving the motor vehicle including the use of her motor
vehicle by someone without authority to use it; Three, that
Ms. Desrosier negligently failed to take steps reasonably
available to prevent the foreseeable criminal conducting
[sic] involving the motor vehicle; And four, the damages
caused by Ms. Desrosier's failure to do so and the
resulting foreseeable criminal conduct.
Docket No. 117-1 ¶ 32. Mary was found not liable for
negligent entrustment, but liable for negligent failure to
secure. Docket No. 117-1 ¶ 35. The jury awarded Devlin
$210, 601.80 for her injuries, including prejudgment
interest. Docket No. 117-1 ¶ 37.
Bodily Injury Coverage
Taurus was insured by Metropolitan under the standard
Massachusetts Automobile Insurance Policy (Seventh Edition).
Docket No. 117-1 ¶ 2. The insurance contract
“consist[ed] of [the standard auto policy], the
Coverage Selections Page, any endorsements agreed upon, and
[Mary's] application for insurance.” Docket No.
114-1 at 15. When the policy actually took effect is not
clear in the record because there are multiple dates on the
document. First, the policy says that it is “effective
from” March 28, 2010, to March 28, 2011. Docket No.
114-1 at 8. The Coverage Selections Page is dated July 6,
2010, but it also includes the date of July 3, 2010, next to
the words “Change 4.” Docket No. 114-1 at 8.
Regardless of the precise effective date, at the time of the
accident, Mary's Taurus was covered by Metropolitan
policy number 2398528494. Docket No. 114-1 at 8.
her policy, Mary had $20, 000 of compulsory coverage and up
to $100, 000 of optional coverage for bodily injury to
others. Docket No. 117-1 ¶ 3. The compulsory coverage
section -- “Part ...