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Daniel v. National Casualty Insurance Co.

United States District Court, D. Maryland

September 29, 2014

KARA DANIEL Plaintiff,
v.
NATIONAL CASUALTY INSURANCE COMPANY Defendant.

MEMORANDUM AND ORDER

MARVIN J. GARBIS, District Judge.

The Court has before it Defendant's Motion to Dismiss Second Amended Complaint, or in the Alternative, Motion for Summary Judgment [Document 47], Plaintiff's Cross-Motion for Partial Summary Judgment [Document 55], and the materials submitted relating thereto. The Court finds a hearing unnecessary.

I. BACKGROUND

A. Underlying Lawsuit

On October 26, 2007, a tractor trailer driven by Derrick Hines, an employee of R & H Trucking, Inc. ("R & H"), crashed into an automobile driven by the husband of Plaintiff Kara Daniel ("Daniel"), resulting in Mr. Daniel's death. In October 2010, Daniel brought suit in this Court against 7 Defendants for negligence, seeking $10, 000, 000.00. See JKB-10-2757.

In July 2011, Northland Insurance Company ("Northland") - the commercial trucking liability insurance carrier for H & F Bros., LLC, ("H & F"), a trucking company that had contracted with R & H to transport a shipment of goods - settled with Daniel for $1, 000, 000.00, the liability limit of the Northland policy.[1] The settlement was paid "on behalf of" Northland and 5 of the Defendants: (1) H & F; (2) BDH Trucking, Inc., the predecessor to H & F; (3) R & H; (4) Aaron Hines, the owner of R & H; and (5) Derrick Hines. As part of the settlement, Northland and the 5 Defendants assigned to Daniel:

all of [their] rights, title and interest that [they] may have, whether in tort or contract for indemnification and/or contribution, for damages arising out of the accident that occurred on October 26, 2007 which is the subject of said lawsuit, including all claims against National Casualty Insurance Company [for] any failure on the part of National Casualty Insurance Company to defend or indemnify Derrick Hines, Aaron Hines, R & H Trucking, H & F Bros LLC, and/or BDH Trucking, Inc. in said Lawsuit.

See, e.g., [Document 1-3] (emphasis added).

National Casualty Company ("National Casualty"), the insurance carrier for R & H, refused to tender a defense to R & H, Aaron Hines, and Derrick Hines in the underlying lawsuit on the grounds that "the policy was not in effect at the time of the accident" because it had been "cancelled for non-payment of premium on September 25, 2007." [Document 55-6] at 5.

B. The Instant Lawsuit

On May 23, 2013, Daniel, as the assignee of H & F and Northland, filed the instant lawsuit against National Casualty for indemnification.[2] Daniel filed an Amended Complaint on July 26, 2013 as the assignee of H & F, Northland, BDH, Aaron Hines, Derrick Hines, and R & H. [Document 22]. National Casualty filed a Motion to Dismiss. [Document 30].

After a hearing on November 27, 2013, the Court dismissed the Amended Complaint. At the hearing, the Court stated that "[t]here is nothing in the [Amended] complaint that shows any basis to believe that any assignor of rights, other than Northland, was out of pocket or had any loss, or anything that they could claim against National Casualty. [Document 47-2] at 3.

The Court allowed Daniel to file a Second Amended Complaint ("SAC") and instructed Daniel that any claim on behalf of Northland against National Casualty must "be set forth... in a clear and understandable manner" and that she should explain "whatever the relationship is... that puts ...


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