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Hampton v. Safeco Insurance Co.

United States District Court, E.D. Kentucky

August 5, 2014

ERONICA HAMPTON, Plaintiff,
v.
SAFECO INSURANCE COMPANY OF AMERICA, Defendant.

MEMORANDUM OPINION & ORDER

DAVID L. BUNNING, District Judge.

I. INTRODUCTION

This matter is before the Court on Defendant's Motion for Summary Judgment. (Doc. # 36). For the reasons set forth below, the Court will grant the motion and dismiss this action.

II. FACTUAL AND PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND

Veronica Hampton, the Plaintiff, and her family lived at 56 O.W. Lane, London, Kentucky, in a single-family home. (Doc. # 1-1, at 2). On December 5, 2011, the home was completely destroyed by fire. (Doc. # 1-1, at 3).

Plaintiff carried home insurance with Safeco Insurance Company of America. ( Id. ). The policy included protections for fire loss-both to the dwelling itself and to Hampton's personal property. ( Id. ). The parties do not contest that Plaintiff's home had insurance coverage, but the breadth of that protection is at issue in this case. Of particular relevance is the "replacement cost" coverage provision, which provides that Safeco will pay the difference between the "replacement cost" and the "actual cash value" of the home. (Doc. # 22-2, at 36).

The actual cash value of $62, 500 is undisputed, and was paid on March 26, 2012. (Doc. # 36-2). Thereafter, Plaintiff notified Defendant of her intent to replace her house with a mobile home costing $66, 729.12. (Doc. # 1-1, at 4). On September 28, 2012, Defendant notified Plaintiff that, under the terms of the contract, it would pay the difference between the replacement cost-$66, 729.12-and the actual cash value. As Safeco wrote in a letter, "the maximum additional amount that would be owed is $3, 229.12." (Doc. # 1-1, at 65).[1]

Plaintiff was unsatisfied with Defendant's position, and indicated that the amount owed under the policy was actually $45, 345, which reflected the difference between $108, 745-the estimated cost to replace the home that was destroyed-and the actual cash value already paid. Unable to reach an agreement, Plaintiff filed suit in state court, and Defendant removed the action to this Court.

This is the second dispositive motion filed in this case. The first presented a jurisdictional issue-specifically, whether the matter was ripe for review. After concluding that the parties' filings went to the merits of the dispute rather than a jurisdictional question, the Court denied that motion and allowed the case to proceed.

III. ANALYSIS

A. Summary Judgment Standard

"The court shall grant summary judgment if the movant shows that there is no genuine dispute as to any material fact and the movant is entitled to judgment as a matter of law." Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(a). In deciding a motion for summary judgment, the court must view the evidence and draw all reasonable inferences in favor of the nonmoving party. Matsushita Elec. Indus. Co. v. Zenith Radio Corp., 475 U.S. 574, 587 (1986).

The "moving party bears the burden of showing the absence of any genuine issues of material fact." Sigler v. Am. Honda Motor Co., 532 F.3d 469, 483 (6th Cir. 2008). Once the movant has satisfied its burden, the nonmoving party must "do more than simply show that there is some metaphysical doubt as to the material facts, " Matsushita Elec. Indus. Co., 475 U.S. at 586, it must produce specific facts showing that a genuine issue remains. Plant v. Morton Int'l, Inc., 212 F.3d 929, 934 (6th Cir. 2000). If, after reviewing the record in its entirety, a rational fact finder could not find for the nonmoving party, summary judgment should be granted. Ercegovich v. Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co., 154 F.3d 344, 349 (6th Cir. 1998).

The present motion presents no disputed issues of material facts. The parties agree on the relevant factual history and focus their dispute on the legal ramification of the contract. It ...


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