United States District Court, E.D. Kentucky, Central Division
For GEICO Indemnity Company, Plaintiff: Carl Norman Frazier, Perry M. Bentley, LEAD ATTORNEYS, Stoll Keenon Ogden, PLLC - Lexington, Lexington, KY.
For Zachary I. Crawford, Hamilton Mutual Insurance Company, Defendants: Peter A. Schmid, LEAD ATTORNEY, Patricia J. Trombetta, Smith, Rolfes & Skavdahl Co., LPA - Ft Mitchell, Ft. Mitchell, KY.
For Devan A. Wiedeman, Defendant: Jason S. Morgan, LEAD ATTORNEY, David J. Guarnieri, McBrayer, McGinnis, Leslie & Kirkland, PLLC - Lexington, Lexington, KY.
For Gregory M. Collins, Defendant: Christopher W. Goode, LEAD ATTORNEY, Bubalo Goode Sales & Bliss PLC - Lexington, Lexington, KY.
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
Danny C. Reeves, United States District Judge.
This matter is pending for consideration of Defendants Hamilton Mutual Insurance Company (" Hamilton" ) and Zachary Crawford's motion to alter or amend the summary judgment entered in favor of Plaintiff GEICO Indemnity Company. [Record No. 39] For the reasons set forth below, the motion will be denied.
This action arises out of an automobile accident in Madison County, Kentucky. [Record No. 1, p. 5] At the time of the accident, Defendant Crawford was driving a 2002 Jeep Grand Cherokee Limited (" Jeep" ) owned by Defendant Linda Bellaw. Defendant Devan Wiedeman was a passenger in the Jeep. Defendant Gregory Collins was driving another automobile involved in the accident. [Record No. 16, pp. 3-4; Record No. 20-1]
Wiedeman and Collins sued Crawford in state court, alleging that Crawford caused the accident and their resulting injuries. [Record Nos. 15-3, 19-2] At the time of the accident, Crawford was insured by Hamilton. [Record No 1, p. 7] Bellaw, an Ohio resident, was the named insured on a policy issued by GEICO. [Record No. 1-1, pp. 3, 5] The policy contains an escape clause allowing coverage for permissive users. The clause states:
[A]ny other person who is using the auto with your permission [will be covered] but only if such a person is not insured by any other vehicle liability insurance policy, a self-insurance liability program, or a liability bond while using the auto.
[ Id., p. 4] The policy also contains a choice-of-law provision stating that " [t]he policy and any amendment(s) and endorsement(s) are to be interpreted pursuant to the laws of the state of Ohio." [Record No. 1-1, p. 16]
GEICO filed this action seeking a declaratory judgment under 28 U.S.C. § 2201. [Record No. 1] It then moved for a judgment on the pleadings or alternatively for summary judgment which the Court granted. [Record Nos. 14, 38] In the Memorandum Opinion and Order granting GEICO's motion, the Court held that the clause was an unenforceable standard escape clause [ See Record No. 37.] However, the Court further determined that Kentucky's public policy on the issue was not sufficiently clear and strongly stated to require the application of Kentucky law. [ Id. ] The Court also concluded that Ohio law controlled the interpretation and application of the policy under a traditional choice-of-law analysis, rendering the escape clause ...