United States District Court, W.D. New York
HARLEYSVILLE WORCESTER INSURANCE COMPANY, Plaintiff/Counter Defendant,
MGB BUILDING, INC., MATTHEW G. BROOKS, CHAD BROOKS, KATHLEEN M. HOLDING, BRIAN HOLDING, Defendants/Counter-Claimants,
Plaintiff/Counter-Defendant Harleysville Worcester Insurance
Company: Dan D. Kohane, Esq. Jennifer Jeanne Phillips, Esq.
Hurwitz & Fine, P.C., James J. Duggan, Esq. Jesse John
Cooke, Esq. Duggan Pawlowski & Cooke LLP
Defendant/Counter-Claimant MGB Building, Inc.: Sean Michael
Spencer, Esq. Hagelin Spencer LLP
Defendants/Counter-Claimants Matthew G. Brooks and Chad
Brooks: Elsa Johanna Schmidt, Esq. Jessica L. Foscolo, Esq.
Kenney, Shelton, Liptak & Nowak LLP
Defendants/Counter-Claimants Kathleen M. Holding and Brian
Holding: Kevin A. Szanyi, Esq. Webster Szanyi LLP
DECISION AND ORDER
CHARLES J. SIRAGUSA United States District Judge
insurance contract case, here on diversity jurisdiction, is
now before the Court on the following applications all filed
on May 30, 2017: (1) motion for summary judgment filed by
Harleysville Worchester Insurance Company
(“Harleysville”), ECF No. 69; (2)
cross-motion for summary judgment filed by Brian Holding and
Kathleen M. Holding (“Holdings”), ECF No.
70; and (3) cross-motion for summary judgment by Chad
Brooks, Matthew G. Brooks, and MGB Building, Inc.
(“MGB”), ECF No. 71. For the reasons
stated below, the Court denies Harleysville's
application, and grants the remaining applications.
Worchester Insurance Company (“Harleysville”)
commenced this action seeking a declaratory judgment that it
is not responsible for coverage on a 2012 Dodge Ram truck
used by Chad Brooks which was involved in a personal injury
accident. Harleysville issued a Commercial Lines insurance
policy, number BA 00000014020J, effective on March 12, 2013,
until March 12, 2014. That policy provided commercial auto
liability coverage to MGB. Matthew Brooks also has a personal
auto policy, specifically covering the Dodge Ram truck,
through State Farm Insurance Company.
accident occurred on Christmas Eve in 2013 as Kathleen
Holding was crossing a street in Spencerport, New York.
Kathleen Holding's injuries included traumatic brain
injury and fractures to her back and face. On August 27,
2014, she brought suit against MGB, Matthew Brooks, and Chad
Brooks in New York State Supreme Court. Harleysville was not
a party to the state court lawsuit.
indicated above, the Dodge Ram truck that struck Ms. Holding
was operated by Chad Brooks. The vehicle was titled to Chad
Brooks' father, Matthew Brooks, and according to
Defendants was on loan to Matthew Brooks' company,
In that regard, Matthew Brooks testified at his deposition in
the state court action: that the truck had been on loan to
MGB for approximately one year prior to the Christmas Eve
accident; that it was used exclusively by MGB; that MGB paid
all the expenses related to the truck including loan
payments. Additionally, the Dodge Ram truck was marked with
the MGB logo. Letter from Hon. J. Scott Odorisi to Kevin A.
Szanyi, Joshua Henry and Brent Seymour (Jan. 4, 2016),
ECF No. 25-4. Chad Brooks was employed by MGB and
the truck had been assigned to him to use in his employment.
MGB & Brooks Joint Statement of Facts ¶ 31, ECF
No. 71-18. At the time of the incident, Chad Brooks had
just left an MGB Christmas party luncheon.
disclaimed coverage for the Christmas Eve accident on the
grounds that the truck was owned by Matthew Brooks, not MGB,
and was being driven by Chad Brooks for personal use, not in
furtherance of MGB business. Dan D. Kohane letter to Brooks
and MGB (Sept. 12, 2014) attached to Bond Decl.
as Ex. J, ECF No. 71-1.
underlying state court action, the Honorable J. Scott
Odorisi, New York State Supreme Court Justice, granted
partial judgment on the issue of liability for the Holdings
against Chad Brooks and further granted partial summary
judgment against Matthew Brooks and MGB, finding both
vicariously liable for the accident. Defendants appealed, but
that appeal was subsequently dismissed upon the filing of a
stipulation of discontinuance. Holding v. Brooks,
151 A.D.3d 1781 (N.Y.App.Div. 4th Dep't 2017).