United States District Court, D. Maryland
LIPTON HOLLANDER UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
insurance dispute, plaintiff Allstate Insurance Company
(“Allstate”) has filed a declaratory judgment
action against defendants N-4, Inc. (“N-4”); Dear
Management and Construction Company (“Dear
Management”); Stanley Rochkind, individually and on
behalf of the corporate defendants; and Tyrel M. Pitts.
See ECF 1 (“Complaint”). The case is
rooted in a lead paint suit filed by Pitts in the Circuit
Court for Baltimore City against the other defendants here,
alleging injury from lead paint exposure in connection with a
property owned, maintained, and/or managed by Rochkind. ECF
1-2 (the “Tort Case”).
particular, Allstate issued a Personal Umbrella Policy to
Rochkind beginning in June 1988. Allstate seeks a declaration
that it has no duty to defend or indemnify Rochkind for any
alleged lead paint injuries that occurred on or after June
13, 1999, when the policy excluded coverage for claims
arising from lead paint exposure. ECF 1, ¶¶ 12, 13.
Moreover, Allstate maintains that in view of the exclusion,
and the subsequent termination of the policy in June 2000,
Rochkind is responsible for a pro rata share of his defense
and indemnity costs. ECF 1, ¶ 14.
February 9, 2018, the parties to this case and the parties in
two similar federal cases moved to consolidate the three
cases for pretrial purposes. ECF 23. The other cases are:
Allstate Insurance Co. v. Uptown Realty Co., et al.,
ELH-17-3288 (“Uptown”) and Allstate
Insurance Co. v. JAM #32 Corp., ELH-17-3293
(“JAM”). In those two cases, Da'Quan
Roberts, Sha'Quan Roberts,  and Martaze Gaines are, like
Pitts, plaintiffs in lead paint cases pending in the Circuit
Court for Baltimore City. And, they are defendants in the
federal cases cited above. (I shall refer to Pitts,
Da'Quan, Sha'Quan, and Gaines collectively as the
“Tort Plaintiffs”). I granted the motion. ECF 24.
three federal suits concern Allstate's potential
liability for lead-poisoning under a Personal Umbrella Policy
(the “Policy”) that it issued to Rochkind in June
1988. The Policy provided excess personal liability coverage
to Rochkind, who owns and manages residential properties in
Baltimore in which the Tort Plaintiffs resided. ECF 28,
¶ 12; Uptown, ECF 30, ¶ 14; JAM,
ECF 27, ¶ 12. On June 13, 1999, Allstate excluded
coverage for claims arising from lead paint exposure. ECF 1,
¶¶ 12, 13; ECF 28, ¶ 12; Uptown, ECF
30, ¶ 14; JAM, ECF 27, ¶ 12. A year later,
the Policy was terminated in its entirety. ECF 28, ¶ 12;
Uptown, ECF 30, ¶ 14; JAM, ECF 27,
¶ 12. In Allstate's view, because the exclusion went
into effect on June 13, 1999, and the policy was cancelled on
or about June 13, 2000, Rochkind “is responsible for a
pro-rata allocation of his defense and indemnity costs . . .
.” in each tort case. Id. ¶ 14.
pending is the motion of the Tort Plaintiffs to certify to
the Maryland Court of Appeals a question concerning the
allocation of damages in certain lead-based paint lawsuits.
See ECF 31. In support of their Motion for
certification (ECF 31), defendants have submitted a
memorandum of law (ECF 31-1) (collectively, the
“Motion”) and an exhibit. See ECF 31-2.
Allstate opposes the Motion. ECF 36
(“Opposition”). The Tort Plaintiffs have filed a
reply. ECF 37 (“Reply”).
Motion is fully briefed and no hearing is necessary to
resolve it. See Local Rule 105.6. For the reasons
that follow, I shall deny the Motion.
Tort Plaintiffs filed suit in the Circuit Court for Baltimore
City against Rochkind and various corporate entities,
alleging injuries from exposure to lead paint at certain
residential properties where they had resided. See Tyrel
M. Pitts v. N-4, Inc., Case No. 24-C-16-2490; Gaines
v. Uptown Realty Co., Case No. 24-C-16-3569 LP;
Roberts v. Wyman Park Co., Case No. 24-C-16-949.
They asserted claims of battery, negligence, and unfair and
deceptive trade practices. ECF 1-2 at 6-17 (“Pitts'
Complaint”); Uptown, ECF 1-2 at 5-16
(“Gaines' Complaint”); JAM, ECF 1-2
(“Roberts' Amended Complaint”).
Pitts and N-4.
April 27, 2016, in the Circuit Court for Baltimore City,
Pitts sued N-4, Dear Management, and Rochkind, individually
and on behalf of the corporate defendants. Pitts,
Case No. 24-C-16-2490; see also ECF 1-2. He alleged
that he was exposed to lead paint from 1997 to 2001, while
residing at 3508 Virginia Avenue, Baltimore, Maryland. ECF
1-2, ¶¶ 3, 8. This property was owned or operated
by N-4, Dear Management, and Rochkind. ECF 1-2, ¶ 3.
of the underlying suit, Allstate seeks a declaratory judgment
as to potential liability, asserting, inter alia,
that in the event of liability, its share of the pro-rata
allocation of liability is limited to 14.51% of any judgment
in favor of Pitts. ECF 28 at 6.
Gaines and Uptown
filed suit in the Circuit Court for Baltimore City on June
14, 2016, against defendants Uptown Realty Co. a/k/a Uptown
Realty Co. Limited Partnership (“Uptown Realty”);
Dear Management; Jack W. Novograd, individually and on behalf
of Uptown Realty; Charles W. Runkles, individually and on
behalf of Dear Management, and Rochkind, individually and on
behalf of both corporate defendants. Gaines, Case
No. 24-C-16-3569 LP; Uptown, ECF 1-2. Gaines alleged
that he was exposed to lead paint from March 6, 1996 through
2001, while residing at or visiting 2320 Druid Hill Avenue,
Baltimore, Maryland. Uptown, ECF 1-2, ¶ 3. This
property was allegedly owned or operated by Uptown Realty,
Dear Management, Novograd, Runkles, and Rochkind.
Uptown, ECF 1-2, ¶ 3; ECF 1-2 at 2-4
(“Case Information Report”).
Uptown, Allstate filed suit against defendants
Uptown Realty; Dear Management; Novograd, individually and on
behalf of Uptown Realty; Runkles, individually and on behalf
of Dear Management; Rochkind, individually and on behalf of
both corporate defendants; and Gaines, seeking a declaratory
judgment that, inter alia, limits its share of
liability to 51.4% of any judgment in favor of Gaines.
Uptown, ECF 1; Uptown, ECF 30 at 7.
Roberts and JAM
Da'quan and Sha'quan filed suit in the Circuit Court
for Baltimore City on February 17, 2016, against Wyman Park
Co. (“Wyman Park”); Homewood Realty, Inc.
(“Homewood”); Stanley Sugarman, individually and
on behalf of Wyman and Homewood; JAM #32 Corp.
(“JAM”); Dear Management; and Rochkind,
individually and on behalf of JAM and Dear Management.
Roberts, Case No. 24-C-16-949; see also
JAM, ECF 1-2. Da'quan alleges that he was exposed to
lead paint from 1996 through 2002, while residing at or
visiting 919 N. Collington Avenue, Baltimore, Maryland and
1635 N. Spring Street, Baltimore, Maryland. Id.
¶¶ 1, 3, 5, 10. Sha'quan alleges that she was
exposed to lead paint from 1997 through 2002, while she
resided at or visited the aforementioned properties.
Id. ¶¶ 1, 3, 7, 10. The property located
at 919 N. Collington Avenue ...