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Atain Specialty Insurance Co. v. Boston Rickshaw LLC

United States District Court, D. Massachusetts

July 2, 2019

ATAIN SPECIALTY INSURANCE CO., Plaintiff,
v.
BOSTON RICKSHAW LLC, DENNIS SUOZZI, LAURA GENTRY REAGAN, and ROBERT REAGAN, Defendants.

          MEMORANDUM AND ORDER ON PLAINTIFF'S MOTION FOR JUDGMENT ON THE PLEADINGS

          F. Dennis Saylor, IV, United States District Judge

         This is an action for declaratory judgment concerning the existence of insurance coverage. Plaintiff Atain Specialty Insurance Company seeks a declaration that it has no duty to defend or indemnify defendants Boston Rickshaw LLC and Dennis Suozzi in an action brought by Laura Gentry Reagan and Robert Reagan in state court.

         Atain has filed a motion for judgment on the pleadings under Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(c). For the following reasons, the motion will be granted.

         I. Background

         A. Factual Background

         1. The Underlying Action

         The following facts appear as alleged in the Reagans' complaint in the underlying state action. See Laura Gentry Reagan and Robert Reagan v. Dennis Suozzi and Boston Rickshaw LLC, No. 1684-cv-02697 (Mass. Super. Ct.).

         On September 8, 2013, Laura Gentry Reagan and her husband Robert Reagan entered a pedicab on Charles Street in Boston, Massachusetts. (Underlying Comp. ¶ 15). The pedicab was licensed and registered to Boston Rickshaw LLC and was operated by Dennis Suozzi, an employee of Boston Rickshaw. (Id. ¶ 8-9).

         During the Reagans' ride, Suozzi allegedly changed lanes “into the path of an unknown vehicle” without looking to see whether the “lane was open” and without signaling properly. (Id. ¶ 17-20). The lane change allegedly caused the vehicle traveling behind Suozzi to strike the rear of his pedicab. (Id. ¶ 17). The Reagans contend that they suffered serious injuries as a result of the collision. (Id. ¶ 23). Their complaint alleges claims of negligence against both Suozzi and Boston Rickshaw.

         2. Insurance Policy

         Atain issued a Commercial General Liability policy to Boston Rickshaw for the period from April 5, 2013, to April 5, 2014.

         The policy contained a number of exclusions, which provided that the policy's “insurance [did] not apply to” various categories of injuries. (Policy at 33). Exclusion (g), in its original form, was titled “Aircraft, Auto or Watercraft, ” and provided that insurance did not apply to:

‘Bodily injury' or ‘property damage' arising out of the ownership, maintenance, use or entrustment to others of any aircraft, ‘auto' or watercraft owned or operated by or rented or loaned to any insured. Use includes operation and ‘loading or unloading.'
This exclusion applies even if the claims against any insured alleged negligence or other wrongdoing in the supervision, hiring, employment, training or monitoring of others by that insured, if the ‘occurrence' which caused the ‘bodily injury' or ‘property damage' involved by the ownership, maintenance, use or entrustment to others of any aircraft, ‘auto' or watercraft that is owned or operated by or rented or loaned to any insured.

(Id. at 35). The policy defined an “auto” as either “[a] land motor vehicle, trailer or semitrailer designed for travel on public roads, including any attached machinery or equipment” or “[a]ny other land vehicle that is subject to a compulsory or financial responsibility law or other motor vehicle insurance law in the state where it is licensed or principally garaged.” (Id. at 43).

         However, the policy also had a number of endorsements that “change[d] the policy.” (Id. at 15). One of those endorsements, entitled “AMENDMENT - AIRCRAFT, AUTO OR WATERCRAFT EXCLUSION, ” deleted the ...


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