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M Consulting and Export, LLC v. Travelers Casualty Insurance Company of America

United States District Court, D. Maryland

February 27, 2014

M CONSULTING AND EXPORT, LLC, Plaintiff,
v.
TRAVELERS CASUALTY INSURANCE COMPANY OF AMERICA, Defendant

For M Consulting and Export, LLC, Plaintiff: James D Skeen, Matthew A Quinn, LEAD ATTORNEYS, Terry L Goddard, Jr, Skeen and Kauffman LLP, Baltimore, MD.

For Travelers Casualty Insurance Company of America, Defendant: Steven Michael Klepper, LEAD ATTORNEY, Kramon and Graham PC, Baltimore, MD.

OPINION

Page 731

Richard D. Bennett, United States District Judge.

MEMORANDUM OPINION

Plaintiff M Consulting and Export, LLC (" Plaintiff" ) brings the presently pending action against Defendant Travelers Casualty Insurance Company of America (" Defendant"

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or " Travelers" ) in order to recover under a commercial general liability insurance policy. This case arises out of an agreement between Wine & Spirits Expo, LLC, d/b/a Cork N Bottle (" Cork N Bottle" ) and Plaintiff that obligated Cork N Bottle to provide sparkling wine for international shipment. Only part of the order arrived at its destination. Plaintiff subsequently filed a Maryland state court action against Cork N Bottle and obtained a default judgment. Plaintiff then filed this case against Defendant Travelers, which had insured Cork N Bottle. Defendant Travelers now moves for summary judgment, arguing that the insurance policy does not cover Plaintiff's loss and, alternatively, that coverage is barred by various exclusions contained in the insurance policy. The parties' submissions have been reviewed and no hearing is necessary. See Local Rule 105.6 (D. Md. 2011). For the reasons that follow, Defendant Travelers Casualty Insurance Company of America's Motion for Summary Judgment (ECF No. 22) is GRANTED.

BACKGROUND

This Court reviews the facts and all reasonable inferences in the light most favorable to the nonmoving party. Scott v. Harris, 550 U.S. 372, 378, 127 S.Ct. 1769, 167 L.Ed.2d 686 (2007); see also Hardwick ex rel. Hardwick v. Heyward, 711 F.3d 426, 433 (4th Cir. 2013).

This case arises out of a business transaction involving the purchase and shipment of sparkling wine. Specifically, Wine & Spirits Expo, LLC, d/b/a Cork N Bottle (" Cork N Bottle" ) contracted with Plaintiff M Consulting and Export, LLC (" Plaintiff" ) to provide five hundred (500) cases of sparkling wine for shipment to West Africa. Def.'s Mem. Supp. Mot. Summ. J. 1, ECF No. 22-1. Upon arrival, however, only some three hundred (300) crates were in the shipping container. Ogbebor Dep. 20:17-19, ECF No. 22-4. Plaintiff filed a lawsuit against Cork N Bottle in the Circuit Court of Maryland for Baltimore City for breach of contract and negligence, and obtained a default judgment after Cork N Bottle failed to answer. Pl.'s Opp. 1, ECF No. 25.

Thereafter, Plaintiff filed the currently pending action against Defendant Travelers Casualty Insurance Company of America (" Defendant" or " Travelers" ), which had insured Cork N Bottle at the time. Id. at 2. Specifically, Travelers insured Cork N Bottle under a commercial general liability insurance agreement, policy number I-680-8660L673-ACJ-09 (" the Policy" ). Def.'s Mem. Supp. Mot. Summ J. 2, ECF No. 22-1; see also Def.'s Mot. Summ. J. Ex. A, ECF No. 22-2 (hereinafter " Def.'s Ex. A" ). The scope of the coverage was stated as follows:

a. We will pay those sums that the insured becomes legally obligated to pay as damages because of " bodily injury" or " property damage" to which this insurance applies. We will have the right and duty to defend the insured against any " suit" seeking those damages. However, we will have no duty to defend the insured against any " suit" seeking damages for " bodily injury" or " property damage" to which this insurance does not apply.
* * *
b. This insurance applies to " bodily injury" and " property damage" only if:
(1) The " bodily injury" or " property damage" is caused by an " occurrence" . . . .

Def.'s Ex. A at 00077. The policy also provides the following definitions:

13. " Occurrence" means an accident, including continuous or repeated exposure

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to substantially the same general harmful conditions.
* * *
17. " Property damage" means:
a. Physical injury to tangible property, including all resulting loss of use of that property. All such loss of use shall be deemed to occur at the time of the physical injury that caused it; or
b. Loss of use of tangible property that is not physically injured. All such loss of use shall be deemed to occur at the time of the " occurrence" that caused it.

Def.'s Ex. A at 00090-91, 00103 (amending 00091 to include new definition of property damage ).

The Policy also excludes several types of damage from coverage. Under section I.A.2.m of the Policy, " Damage to Impaired Property or Property Not Physically Injured" is excluded from ...


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