United States District Court, D. Maryland
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
Xinis United States District Judge
before the Court are Plaintiff ROBERT BROCK SMITH's
Motion for Partial Summary Judgment, ECF No. 14, and
Defendant TITAN INDEMNITY COMPANY's Cross-Motion for
Summary Judgment, ECF No. 15, regarding uninsured motorist
benefits. The issues are fully briefed and the Court now
rules pursuant to Local Rule 105.6 because no hearing is
necessary. For the reasons stated below, the Court GRANTS
summary judgment in Defendant's favor.
Maryland, automobile insurance policies must provide coverage
for damages caused by a person operating a motor vehicle
without sufficient insurance. Md. Code Ann., Insurance,
§ 15-509(c)(1)(2017). Uninsured motor vehicle (UM)
insurance covers liability for underinsured motor vehicle
claims when the tortfeasor's liability insurance limit is
less than the injured party's liability limit. Md. Code
Ann., Insurance, § 15-509(a)(2)(i)(2017).
Robert Brock-Smith (“Brock-Smith”) has held an
automobile insurance policy (“the Policy”) with
Defendant Titan Indemnity Company (“Titan”) since
2008. ECF No. 14 at 2. The “Policy Declarations”
page set forth the limits of insurance coverage and remained
unchanged each time Brock-Smith renewed the Policy.
Id. The Policy Declarations included bodily injury
liability limits of “$50, 000 EA PERSON $100, 000 EA
ACCIDENT.” ECF No. 14-1 at 1. The Policy further stated
that the required uninsured (UM) and underinsured (UIM)
motorist coverage was “$50, 000 EA PERSON UM $100, 000
EA ACCIDENT UM $100, 000 EA ACCIDENT UIM.” Id.
April 29, 2014, Brock-Smith was rear-ended by another vehicle
while safely making a left-turn. ECF No. 2 at ¶ 3-4.
Brock-Smith was the only motorist who suffered bodily
injuries. He incurred over $35, 000 in medical bills. ECF No.
14 at 2. The other driver, who was ultimately deemed to be at
fault, was insured by Ohio Casualty. ECF No. 14-1 at 38. Ohio
Casualty advised Brock-Smith that the tortfeasor's policy
included bodily injury liability limits of $50, 000
per-person and $100, 000 for each occurrence. Id. On
February 2, 2015, Ohio Casualty offered Plaintiff the entire
per-person limit of liability, $50, 000. Id.
informed Titan that he intended to accept Ohio Casualty's
coverage offer of $50, 000, and also file an underinsured
motorist claim with Titan for additional coverage beyond the
$50, 000 offered by Ohio Casualty. ECF No. 14 at 2. On
September 13, 2016, Titan responded that, as a result of Ohio
Casualty's $50, 000 offer, Brock-Smith was not entitled
to underinsured motorist coverage under the Policy. ECF
No.14-1 at 39.
24, 2017, Plaintiff filed suit against Titan, alleging breach
of contract. ECF No. 2 at 1. Plaintiff then moved for partial
summary judgment, arguing that the Policy was ambiguous and,
therefore, when construed in favor of coverage, would confer
on Brock-Smith $100, 000 of available coverage per
underinsured accident, in contrast to Titan's claimed
limitations of $50, 000 per-person. ECF No. 14 at 4-5. Titan
cross-moved for summary judgment, arguing that the
Policy's terms unambiguously exclude Brock-Smith from
underinsured motorists coverage, and that Plaintiff's
interpretation of the Policy contravenes Maryland law. ECF
No. 15-1 at 9. For the reasons stated below, the Court GRANTS
summary judgment in favor of Titan and DENIES
STANDARD OF REVIEW
judgment is appropriate when the Court, construing all
evidence and drawing all reasonable inferences in the light
most favorable to the non-moving party, finds no genuine
dispute exists as to any material fact, thereby entitling the
movant to judgment as a matter of law. Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(a);
see In re Family Dollar FLSA Litig., 637 F.3d 508,
512 (4th Cir. 2011). Summary judgment must be granted
“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. v.
Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 322 (1986). “In responding
to a proper motion for summary judgment, the party opposing
summary judgment must present evidence of specific facts from
which the finder of fact could reasonably find for him or
her.” Venugopal v. Shire Labs., 334 F.Supp.2d
835, 840 (D. Md. 2004), aff'd sub nom. Venugopal v.
Shire Labs., Inc., 134 Fed.Appx. 627 (4th Cir. 2005)
(citing Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, 477 U.S. 242, 252
(1986); Celotex, 477 U.S. at 322-23). The party
opposing summary judgment “cannot create a genuine
issue of material fact through mere speculation or the
building of one inference upon another.” Othentec
Ltd. v. Phelan, 526 F.3d 135, 140 (4th Cir. 2008)
(quoting Beale v. Hardy, 769 F.2d 213, 214 (4th Cir.
1985)). Where a party's statement of a fact is
“blatantly contradicted by the record, so that no
reasonable jury could believe it, ” the Court will
credit the record over the averred fact. See Scott v.
Harris, 550 U.S. 372, 380 (2007).
Maryland, an insurance policy is interpreted like any other
contract, “measured by its terms unless a statute, a
regulation, or public policy is violated thereby.”
Connors v. Government Employee Ins. Co., 442 Md.
466, 480 (2015)(quoting Pacific Indem. Co. v. Interstate
Fire & Cas. Co., 302 Md. 383, 388 (1985). Further,
“the contract must be construed in its entirety,
” and each term must be given its clear and plain
meaning. Id. at 480-81 (quoting Cochran v.
Norkunas, 398 Md. 1, 17 (2007). If a policy term is
capable of more than one interpretation, the term must be
construed in favor of the insured. Id. at 482-83.
case centers on Titan's Policy coverage limits when an
insured is injured by an uninsured or underinsured motorist.
These limitations are set forth in the Policy as well as the
Policy Declarations. See generally ECF Nos. 14 &
15; see also 14-1 at 54 (instructing that the Policy
“[c]overage applies as stated in the
Declarations”). The Policy defines uninsured motorist
coverage as encompassing “bodily injury and property
damage caused by uninsured and underinsured
motorists.” ECF No. 14-1 at 51 (emphasis added);
see also Id. at 52 (defining “uninsured motor
vehicle” to include “one which is
underinsured.”). The Policy also clearly and plainly
defines “injury for any one person” as limited to
damages up to the “per-person limit . . . . No separate
limits are available to anyone for derivative claims,
statutory claims, or any other claims made by anyone arising
out of bodily injury . . . to one person.” ECF No. 14-1
at 54. Per accident coverage on the other hand, is defined as
“the total limit of [Titan's] liability for all
covered damages when two or more persons sustain bodily
injury.” Id. With respect to the limits on
uninsured motorist coverage, the Policy states that “in
no event will any Insured be entitled to more than the
highest per-person Uninsured Motorists Bodily Injury limit on
any one policy issued by [Titan].” Id.
on these terms and definitions, Titan argues that
Brock-Smith, as the only insured who suffered bodily injury,
is limited to the per-person uninsured motorist
coverage, which is $50, 000. See generally ECF No.
115. The Court agrees. The Policy clearly limits coverage in
the event of a single-person injury to $50, 000. Further, the
Policy limits coverage to “the highest per-person
Uninsured Motorists Bodily Injury limit, ” which is
$50, 000. Accordingly, because the Policy limit applicable