United States District Court, E.D. Kentucky, Southern Division, London
OPINION AND ORDER
E. Wier, United States District Judge
in nature equal ends produce; In man they join to some
Pope, An Essay on Man, The Poetical Works of Alexander Pope
79 (H.F. Cary, ed., 1841).
aphorism sets an apt stage for this case, involving extremes
of the natural world-a ~600° hydrocarbon mixture
(naphtha) pulsing through a large piping structure at over
14, 000 pounds per hour, ultimately producing a violent
explosion and fireball- and two companies (an oil refiner and
an insurer) fighting about EBC policy language with similar
vigor. In the end, there is much “myster[y]”
here, for the case ends not with a bang-as did the October
evening at issue-but with a whimper-a lone discovery
admission ensures exclusion and disposes of the case.
the night of October 11, 2015, part of the F-2001 Charge
Heater at Continental Refining Company, LLC's
(Continental) crude oil refinery in Somerset, Kentucky,
ruptured. See DE ##30 (Conventional Filing) (video
of the intense, fiery incident); 1-1, at ¶ 8 (describing
damaged equipment as “an F-2001 Rupture Tube and
refractory”); 5, at ¶ 7 (describing ruptured
equipment as “a single tube . . . in the Alcorn
Combustion charge heater”); 28-3 (Gibson Depo.), at 9
(Depo. p. 34) (describing the F-2001 charge heater); 28-9
(QEI Report), at 3-4 (same); id. at 19, 21
(Pictures); 28-6, at 4, 15, 17, 19, 21. Basically, the heater
prepared a naphtha stream for additional refining by sending
the high-volume and high-pressure stream through a snaking
series of pipes within a box-shaped furnace. One of the pipe
segments burst. The parties differ over how to describe the
precise sequence; suffice it to say the heater refractory
suffered significant damage.
subsequently sought recovery for certain damages under its
Hartford Steam Boiler Inspection and Insurance Company (HSB)
insurance policy for Equipment Breakdown Coverage (EBC). HSB
substantially denied coverage; this suit followed. The
parties have litigated the case, and HSB now seeks summary
judgment. DE #28 (Motion). Continental opposed. DE #33
(Response). HSB replied. DE #35 (Reply). With Court
permission, DE #40, Continental surreplied. DE #41
(Surreply). The matter is ripe for consideration.
“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). A reviewing court must construe the
evidence and draw all reasonable inferences from the
underlying facts in favor of the nonmoving party.
Matsushita Elec. Indus. Co., Ltd. v. Zenith Radio
Corp., 106 S.Ct. 1348, 1356 (1986); Lindsay v.
Yates, 578 F.3d 407, 414 (6th Cir. 2009). Additionally,
the court may not “weigh the evidence and determine the
truth of the matter” at the summary judgment stage.
Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 106 S.Ct. 2505,
burden of establishing the absence of a genuine dispute of
material fact initially rests with the moving party.
Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 106 S.Ct. 2548, 2553
(1986) (requiring the moving party to set forth “the
basis for its motion, and identify those portions of
‘the pleadings, depositions, answers to
interrogatories, and admissions on file, together with the
affidavits, if any,' which it believes demonstrate an
absence of a genuine issue of material fact”);
Lindsay, 578 F.3d at 414 (“The party moving
for summary judgment bears the initial burden of showing that
there is no material issue in dispute.”). If the moving
party meets its burden, the burden then shifts to the
nonmoving party to produce “specific facts”
showing a “genuine issue” for trial. Celotex
Corp., 106. S.Ct. at 2253; Bass v. Robinson,
167 F.3d 1041, 1044 (6th Cir. 1999). However, “Rule
56(c) mandates the entry of summary judgment . . . against a
party who fails to make a showing sufficient to establish the
existence of an element essential to that party's case,
and on which that party will bear the burden of proof at
trial.” Celotex Corp., 106 S.Ct. at 2552;
see also Id. at 2557 (Brennan, J., dissenting)
(“If the burden of persuasion at trial would be on the
non-moving party, the party moving for summary
judgment may satisfy Rule 56's burden of production in
either of two ways. First, the moving party may submit
affirmative evidence that negates an essential element of the
nonmoving party's claim.
the moving party may demonstrate to the Court that the
nonmoving party's evidence is insufficient to establish
an essential element of the nonmoving party's
claim.” (emphasis in original)).
is “material” if the underlying substantive law
identifies the fact as critical. Anderson, 106 S.Ct.
at 2510. Thus, “[o]nly disputes over facts that might
affect the outcome of the suit under the governing law will
properly preclude the entry of summary judgment. Factual
disputes that are irrelevant or unnecessary will not be
counted.” Id. A “genuine” issue
exists if “there is sufficient evidence favoring the
nonmoving party for a jury to return a verdict for that
party.” Id. at 2511; Matsushita
Elec., 106 S.Ct. at 1356 (“Where the record taken
as a whole could not lead a rational trier of fact to find
for the non-moving party, there is no ‘genuine issue
for trial.'”) (citation omitted). Such evidence
must be suitable for admission into evidence at trial.
Salt Lick Bancorp v. FDIC, 187 Fed.Appx. 428, 444-45
(6th Cir. 2006).
Policy No. FBP2344824, HSB “provide[d] insurance,
” called “Equipment Breakdown Coverage, ”
to Continental “for a Covered Cause of Loss, ”
which the policy defined to mean an “accident.”
DE #1-1, at 19. The agreement defined “accident,
” in turn, as “a fortuitous event that causes
direct physical damage to ‘covered
equipment.'” Id. (Section A.1).
Specifically, “the event must be one of” a series
of things. Id. (Section A.1.a). The Court avoids
burdening this Opinion with additional detail here ...