Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

Leep v. Trinity Universal Insurance Co.

United States District Court, D. Montana, Billings Division

March 28, 2017

LANDY C. LEEP, Plaintiff,
v.
TRINITY UNIVERSAL INSURANCE COMPANY, Defendant/Third-Party Plaintiff,
v.
SPRAUGE CONSTRUCTION ROOFING, LLC, a Montana Limited Liability Company, Third-Party Defendant.

          ORDER GRANTING IN PART AND DENYING IN PART SPRAUGE CONSTRUCTION LLC'S MOTION FOR JUDGMENT ON THE PLEADINGS

          TIMOTHY J. CAVAN United States Magistrate Judge

         Plaintiff Landy C. Leep (“Leep”) filed this action against Defendant/Third-Party Plaintiff Trinity Universal Insurance Company (“Trinity”), seeking declaratory judgment that a homeowner's insurance policy issued by Trinity provides coverage for certain losses to Leep's residence. (Doc. 19.) Leep also brings claims for breach of insurance contract and breach of the Montana Unfair Trade Practices Act. (Id.) Trinity filed a Third Party Complaint against Third-Party Defendant Sprauge Construction Roofing, LLC (“Sprauge”) for indemnity and contribution. (Doc. 13.)

         Presently before the Court is Sprauge's Motion for Judgment on the Pleadings. (Docs. 24, 25.) Trinity has filed an opposition (Doc. 30), and Sprauge has filed a reply.[1] (Doc. 32.) For the following reasons, the Court finds Sprauge's motion should be GRANTED in part and DENIED in part.

         I. BACKGROUND

         Leep's residence was insured under a homeowners policy issued by Trinity for the period of September 20, 2015 through September 20, 2016. (Doc. 19 at ¶¶ 9-12.) On January 19, 2016, Leep reported a claim to Trinity after noticing water dripping from a bathroom ventilation fan. (Id. at ¶¶ 14-15.) Leep informed Trinity that he had recently had his roof replaced due to hail damage from a 2014 hail storm, and reported the loss date as August 1, 2015. (Id. at ¶¶ 14, 21.) Sprauge was the roofing contractor who installed the new roof on Leep's residence. (Doc. 13 at ¶¶ 6-7.)

         A Trinity representative conducted an inspection on January 21, 2016, and discovered that a disconnected vent flue had caused water vapor to condense in the attic space, which led to elevated moisture levels and damage. (Doc. 19 at ¶ 16.) A second inspection was conducted on February 2, 2016, and it was discovered that the attic and significant portion of the residence interior was wet from the disconnected furnace vent. (Id. at ¶ 18.)

         On February 22, 2016, Trinity rejected Leep's claim on the basis that the damage was caused by the roof replacement and “the result of improperly installed roof vent flashing and furnace vent flue, ” which is excluded from coverage under the policy. (Doc. 19 at ¶ 22.) Thereafter, Leep's attorney sent Trinity a letter explaining the failed flue vent was not within the scope of work contracted for with the roof contractor. (Id. ¶ 23.) On April 6, 2016, Trinity sent Leep another letter declining coverage on alternate grounds that the damage was due to Leep's personal failure to maintain the property. (Id. at ¶ 24.)

         On April 13, 2016, Leep filed the instant action in the Montana Thirteenth Judicial District Court, Yellowstone County, Montana, seeking a declaration that the policy provides coverage for his claim. (Doc. 1.) Leep alleges the damage was a result of the failure of the furnace, which is a “heating system, ” and is therefore covered by the policy. (Id. at ¶ 23.) Leep also brought a cause of action for violation of the Consumer Protection Act, Mont. Code Ann. § 30-14-103. (Id.) On May 17, 2016, Trinity removed the case to federal court based on diversity jurisdiction under 28 U.S.C. § 1441(b). (Id.)

         On June 3, 2016, Trinity filed a Third-Party Complaint against Sprauge. (Doc. 13.) Trinity alleges that if the furnace vent became disconnected as alleged by Leep, and/or the moisture entered the attic past the furnace vent roof flashing, Sprauge completed its work in a negligent or unworkmanlike manner. (Id. at ¶ 12.) Therefore, Trinity contends that if the Court finds in Leep's favor on the coverage issue, Trinity is entitled to indemnity and/or contribution from Sprauge. (Id. at ¶¶ 15-22.)

         On June 6, 2016, Leep filed a First Amended Complaint, which removed the Consumer Protection Act claim, and added causes of action for breach of insurance contract and breach of the Montana Unfair Trade Practices Act. (Doc. 19.)

         On July 21, 2106, Sprauge moved for judgment on the pleadings under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(c). (Docs. 24, 25.)

         II. ANALYSIS

         “A judgment on the pleadings is properly granted when, taking all the allegations in the pleadings as true, the moving party is entitled to judgment as a matter of law.” Nelson v. City of Irvine, 143 F.3d 1196, 1200 (9th Cir. 1998).

         Sprauge argues Trinity cannot legally obtain contribution from Sprauge. (Doc. 25.) Sprauge also argues Trinity's claim for indemnification is premature because under Montana law, the right to indemnity does not accrue until payment has been made, and the insured has been made whole. (Id.) Trinity concedes that Sprauge's argument regarding the claim for contribution is well taken.[2] (Doc. 30.) However, Trinity argues its claim for indemnification is consistent with Federal ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.