United States District Court, W.D. Kentucky, Louisville
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
B. Russell, Senior Judge United States District Court.
matter is before the Court on several motions. First,
Defendant Great American Insurance Company filed a Motion for
Summary Judgment on All Claims Against Non-Trucking Liability
Policy, [R. 4], and a Motion for Summary Judgment on All
Claims Asserted Against the Occupational Accident Policy, [R.
5]. Plaintiff Juan Gonzalez responded, [R. 12; R. 16-1].
Secondly, Gonzalez filed a Motion for Extension of Time to
Complete Discovery, [R. 14]. Great American responded,
[R.17], and Gonzalez replied, [R. 21]. Finally, Gonzalez
filed a Motion to Amend/Correct his Memorandum in Opposition
to Great American's Motion for Summary Judgment, [R. 16].
Great American responded, [R. 18], and Gonzalez replied, [R.
20]. This matter is now ripe for adjudication. For the
reasons stated herein: Great American's Motion for
Summary Judgment on All Claims Against Non-Trucking Liability
Policy, [R. 4], is GRANTED; Great American's Motion for
Summary Judgment on All Claims Against the Occupational
Accident Policy, [R. 5], is DENIED WITH LEAVE TO REFILE;
Gonzalez's Motion for Extension of Time to Complete
Discovery, [R. 14], is GRANTED IN PART AND DENIED IN PART;
and Gonzalez's Motion to Amend/Correct his Memorandum in
Opposition to Great American's Motion for Summary
Judgment, [R. 16], is GRANTED.
case arises from a motor vehicle accident that occurred on
November 15, 2013 in Jefferson County, Kentucky, in which
Juan Gonzalez, a truck driver, was injured. [R. 1-1 at 3
(Jefferson Circuit Court Complaint).] At the time of the
accident, Gonzalez was transporting packages for Cowan
International Group. [R. 15-1 at 1 (Gonzalez Affidavit).]
Following treatment for his injuries at the emergency room at
Norton Audubon Hospital, [R. 16-3 at 99-168 (Medical Records
attached to Lamb Affidavit)], Gonzalez received medical
attention from his primary care physician, Dr. Juan Polo,
[Id. at 169-178], Dr. James Heaphy and Jerry Morris
of the Morris Medical Group, [Id. at 89-98], and Dr.
Madhusudhan Yakkanti and Dr. Edward Tillet of the Shea
Orthopedic Group, [Id. at 179-186]. He was
prescribed various medications and physical therapy for pain
in his neck, lower back, and left shoulder, [Id. at
170; 179]. He also had an independent medical examination by
Dr. Richard Sheridan on May 13, 2014, in which Dr. Sheridan
found that the treatment up to that date had been necessary,
but Gonzalez was capable of returning to full duty work as a
truck driver and required no further treatment. [Id.
at 187-192 (Independent Medical Evaluation).] Despite Dr.
Sheridan's conclusion, Gonzalez explains that he was
unable to work following his accident until February 23,
2015. [R. 15-1 at 2.] Furthermore, Gonzalez states that he
did not return to his previous employment but to a different
employer where the work is not as strenuous. [Id.]
is insured by Great American Insurance Group
(“GAI”) under both a Non-Trucking Liability and
Physical Damage Policy (“NTL policy”) [R. 4-1 at
1-2 (Deanna Ware Affidavit), and an Occupational Accident
Insurance Policy (“OAP”), [R. 5-1 at 2-3 (Lynn
Canterbury Affidavit)]. Under the OAP, GAI paid Gonzalez $9,
776.74 in Temporary Total Disability benefits and $7, 976.73
in medical expenses. [Id.] On July 10, 2014, GAI
notified Gonzalez's counsel that his Temporary Total
Disability benefits on his OAP claim were suspended as of
July 7, 2014 due to Dr. Sheridan's assessment.
[Id. at 55 (Suspension of Benefits Letter).] Under
the NTL policy, GAI found that there was no coverage
available to Gonzalez for no-fault benefits due to the fact
that the policy only provides coverage for when the vehicle
is utilized for personal use. [R. 4-1 at 1.]
suit was originally filed in Jefferson Circuit Court on
November 14, 2016 by Gonzalez, [R. 1-1 at 1], and
subsequently was removed to this Court on May 10, 2017, [R. 1
(Joint Notice of Removal)]. Gonzalez also initiated a
worker's compensation suit that is currently pending
before Administrative Law Judge Chris Davis. [R. 16-3 at 196
(Judge Davis Order).] Specific to GAI, Gonzalez claims that
GAI is obligated to pay him “benefits under the No.
Fault Act (KRS 304.39-120) and occupational injury benefits
pursuant to the insurance policy . . ..” [R. 1-1 at 4.]
On September 14, 2017, GAI filed the two motions for summary
judgment that are now before the Court. [R. 4; R. 5]. On
October 25, 2017, Gonzalez filed a Motion for Extension of
Time to Complete Discovery, [R. 14], and on October 30, 2017,
he filed a Motion to Amend his Response to the motions for
summary judgment, [R. 16].
judgment is appropriate when the record, viewed in the light
most favorable to the nonmoving party, reveals “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). A genuine dispute of material fact exists
where “there is sufficient evidence favoring the
nonmoving party for a jury to return a verdict for that
party.” Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477
U.S. 242, 249 (1986). The Court “may not make
credibility determinations nor weigh the evidence when
determining whether an issue of fact remains for
trial.” Laster v. City of Kalamazoo, 746 F.3d
714, 726 (6th Cir. 2014) (citing Logan v. Denny's,
Inc., 259 F.3d 558, 566 (6th Cir. 2001); Ahlers
v. Schebil, 188 F.3d 365, 369 (6th Cir. 1999)).
“The ultimate question is ‘whether the evidence
presents a sufficient disagreement to require submission to a
jury or whether it is so one-sided that one party must
prevail as a matter of law.'” Back v.
Nestlé USA, Inc., 694 F.3d 571, 575 (6th Cir.
2012) (quoting Anderson, 477 U.S. at 251-52).
party moving for summary judgment, the defendant must
shoulder the burden of showing the absence of a genuine
dispute of material fact as to at least one essential element
of Plaintiff's claims. Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(c); see also
Laster, 746 F.3d at 726 (citing Celotex Corp. v.
Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 324 (1986)). Assuming the
defendant satisfies its burden of production, the plaintiff
“must-by deposition, answers to interrogatories,
affidavits, and admissions on file-show specific facts that
reveal a genuine issue for trial.” Laster, 746 F.3d at
726 (citing Celotex Corp., 477 U.S. at 324).
Court will address each motion filed by the parties in turn.
The Occupational Accident Policy
response to GAI's Motion for Summary Judgment on the
claims concerning the OAP, Gonzalez filed a Rule 56(d) motion
for more time to conduct discovery. “Before ruling on
summary judgment motions, a district judge must afford the
parties adequate time for discovery, in light of the
circumstances of the case.” Plott v. Gen. Motors
Corp., Packard Elec. Div., 71 F.3d 1190, 1195 (6th Cir.
1995); Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S.
242, 250 n. 5 (1986). However, the burden is on the party
claiming insufficient time to conduct discovery to file a
motion and supporting affidavit pursuant to 56(d).
Cacevic v. City of Hazel Park, 226 F.3d 483, 488
(6th Cir. 2000). “The importance of complying”
with Rule 56(d)'s affidavit requirement “cannot be
overemphasized.” Id. “Beyond the
procedural requirement of filing an affidavit, Rule [56(d)]
has been interpreted as requiring that a party making such a
filing indicate to the district court its need for discovery,
what material facts it hopes to uncover, and why it has not
previously discovered the information.” Id. If
a “[p]laintiff's affidavit makes only general and
conclusory statements regarding the need for more discovery,
” then denial of their request for more discovery is
proper. Ironside v. Simi Valley Hosp., 188 F.3d 350,
354 (6th Cir. 1999); Emmons v. McLaughlin, 874 F.2d
351, 356 (6th Cir. 1989).
have considered a No. of factors in deciding whether
additional discovery is appropriate, including “(1)
when the appellant learned of the issue that is the subject
of the desired discovery; (2) whether the desired discovery
would have changed the ruling below; (3) how long the
discovery period had lasted; (4) whether the appellant was
dilatory in its discovery efforts; and (5) whether the
appellee was responsive to discovery requests.”
Plott, 71 F.3d at 1196 (collecting cases). The
decision of the district court to grant or deny a Rule 56(d)
motion is reviewed for abuse of discretion, and a district
court does not abuse its discretion to deny additional
discovery when the requested discovery would be irrelevant to
the underlying issues to be decided in the dispositive
motion. Brown v. Tax Ease Lien Servicing, LLC, No.
3:15-CV-208-CRS, 2017 WL 6940734, at *8-9 (W.D. Ky. May 25,
2017) (citing In re Bayer Healthcare and Merial Ltd. Flea
Control Products Marketingand Sales Practices
Litigation,752 F.3d 1065, 1074 (6th Cir. ...