United States District Court, D. Massachusetts
MEMORANDUM OF DECISION AND ORDER
TIMOTHY S. HILLMAN UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
Insurance Company (“NGM”) has filed an action
pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §2201 seeking a declaration of
rights and obligations under an automobile insurance policy
it issued to Marc Pillsbury (“M. Pillsbury”). M.
Pillsbury is being sued in state court with wrongful death
and personal injury lawsuits by Jane Mansfield,
representative of the Estate of Thomas Mansfield
(“Estate”) and Jane Mansfield (“J.
Mansfield”), individually, as the result of an accident
involving a car driven by M. Pillsbury. NMG seeks a
declaratory judgment that it has no duty to defend or
indemnify M. Pillsbury in those actions.
Memorandum of Decision and Order addresses Plaintiff, NGM
Insurance Company's Motion for Summary Judgment (Docket
No. 30). For the reasons set forth below, that motion is
granted, in part, and denied, in part.
13, 2016, J. Mansfield filed a personal injury action in
Worcester Superior Court against M. Pillsbury. Thereafter,
the Estate filed a separate wrongful death claim in Worcester
Superior Court. The complaints in both underlying matters
allege that on August 3, 2013, a motorcycle operated by T.
Mansfield, and carrying J. Mansfield, his wife, as a
passenger, was travelling on Meadow Road in Spencer,
Massachusetts when it collided with a motor vehicle (the
“Ford Flex”) operated by M. Pillsbury. The
registered owner of the Ford Flex was M. Pillsbury's
wife, J. Pillsbury. M. Pillsbury is a self-employed sign
installer and drives a 2012 Nissan which is insured by him
under a policy issued by NGM.
Pillsbury told officers that he was driving the Ford Flex and
that he had just left a wedding at Zukas Hilltop Barn in
Spencer, Massachusetts. There were approximately one hundred
people at the wedding. Of that number. he knew “five or
six.” M. Pillsbury had never done any business with
those five or six people and had never had any professional
or business relationship with the bride or groom. Moreover,
he did not see anyone at the wedding that he interacted with
through the course of any prior employment. M. Pillsbury
stated that he would not have attended the wedding without
his wife and he was not operating the Ford Flex in connection
with his business or employment.
time of the accident, both M. Pillsbury and J. Pillsbury were
living at 1 Frankie Lane, North Grafton, Massachusetts. M.
Pillsbury never rented or leased the Ford Flex from his wife,
never hired the vehicle to do any work for his company and
had no recollection of J. Pillsbury ever using her Ford Flex
to run any company errands. M. Pillsbury rarely used the Ford
Flex, but when he did so, he would not use it for company
business. M. Pillsbury's business never gave J. Pillsbury
any money in exchange for the use of the Ford Flex.
issued Policy No. M1T5266D, a commercial automobile policy,
to M. Pillsbury, for the policy period February 13, 2013 to
February 13, 2014 (the “Policy”). The Policy
states that the terms “you” and
“your” refer to the “Named Insured”
shown in the Declarations, which in this case is “Marc
Pillsbury.” The Declarations page describes M.
Pillsbury's business as “sign installation and
repair, ” and states that the form of business is
corporation. According to M. Pillsbury he was self-employed
by Northern Exposure Sign and Graphics, which is a limited
Policy contains the following relevant language:
SECTION I - COVERED AUTOS
Item Two of the Declarations shows the “autos”
that are covered “autos” for each of your
coverages. The following numerical symbols describe the
“autos” that may be covered “autos”.
The symbols entered next to a coverage on the Declarations
designate the only “autos” that are covered
A. Description of Covered Auto Designation Symbols
7 - Specifically Described “Autos”
Only those “autos” described in Item Three of the
Declarations for which a premium charge is shown (and for
Liability Coverage any “trailers” you don't
own while attached to any power unit described in Item
8 - Hired “Autos” Only Only those
“autos” you lease, hire, rent or borrow. This
does not include any “auto” you lease, hire, rent
or borrow from any of your “employees”, partners
(if you are a partnership), members (if you are a limited
liability company) or members of their households.
9 - Non-owned “Autos” Only Only those
“autos” you do not own, lease, hire, rent or
borrow that are used in connection with your business. This
includes “autos” owned by your
“employees”, partners (if you are a partnership),
members (if you are a limited liability company) or members