United States District Court, D. Montana, Helena Division
For Northern Pacific Insurance, Company, Plaintiff, Counter Defendant, Counter Defendant: Jesse Beaudette, John E. Bohyer, LEAD ATTORNEYS, BOHYER, ERICKSON, BEAUDETTE & TRANEL, P.C., Missoula, MT.
For Calvin Stucky, Renee Stucky, Sadie Stucky, Callie Joe Stucky, Defendants, Counter Claimants: Lori A. Armstrong/Harshbarger, LEAD ATTORNEY, JD Law Firm, Whitehall, MT.
Dana L. Christensen, Chief United States District Judge.
Before the Court is Plaintiff North Pacific Insurance Company's (" North Pacific" ) motion for summary judgment on Defendants' Affirmative Defenses as stated in paragraphs 6 and 7 of the Affirmative Defenses section of Defendants' Second Amended Answer and Counterclaim. Plaintiff contends that whether or not the vehicle driven by Mr. Stucky at the time of his collision with an underinsured motorist is a " temporary substitute for a covered 'auto'" is irrelevant to the question of whether or not there is coverage under North Pacific's underinsured motorist (" UIM" ) coverage. For the reasons explained below, the Court will grant the motion.
Factual And Procedural Background
Defendant Calvin Stucky was a named insured under a commercial auto insurance policy issued by Plaintiff North Pacific that was in effect from October 24, 2008 to October 24, 2009 (" the Policy" ). (Doc. 81-1 at 5). The Policy provided UIM coverage. Id. at 41.
On about February 20, 2009, Calvin Stucky took his primary ranch vehicle, a red Chevy truck, to Rick's Towing in Deer Lodge, Montana for repairs. (Doc. 22 at 7.) The record does not clearly establish whether or not this red Chevy truck was insured under the Policy. Calvin Stucky's red Chevy truck remained in the shop for repairs throughout the summer of 2009. Id.
On about May 27, 2009, Calvin Stucky purchased a 1980 Ford truck. Id. Stucky purchased the 1980 Ford truck " to fill a need that was previously met by the red truck." (Doc. 55-2 at 8-9.) Defendants claim Calvin Stucky told North Pacific's agent, Pat Greany, to add the 1980 Ford truck to the Policy. North Pacific disputes this claim. On August 12, 2009, while driving the 1980 Ford truck, Calvin Stucky was involved in a head-on collision with a vehicle driven by Seth Schmautz (Doc. 22 at 8.) Calvin suffered severe, traumatic brain injury. Id. His damages allegedly exceed the policy limits of Mr. Schmautz's State Farm policy. Id. at 9.
Calvin made a claim for UIM benefits under the Policy for his injuries and damages caused by the August 12, 2009 motor vehicle accident. (Doc. 1 at 6.) North Pacific then filed this action seeking a declaratory judgment that there is no coverage for Calvin Stucky's claim for UIM benefits. Id. Defendants filed a Second Amended Answer and Counterclaim on September 13, 2012, in which Calvin Stucky's wife and daughters were added, and asserting, among other claims, that they too were entitled to UIM benefits.
In its Second Amended Answer, Defendants raised several affirmative defenses. In paragraphs 6 and 7 of Defendants' affirmative defenses, Defendants asserted that the 1980 Ford truck that Calvin Stucky was driving at the time of the accident was a " temporary replacement vehicle" for the
red Chevy truck that was being repaired. ...