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Evanston Insurance Co. v. Mid-Continent Casualty Co.

United States District Court, S.D. Texas, Houston Division

November 27, 2017

Evanston Insurance Company, Plaintiff,
v.
Mid-Continent Casualty Company, Defendant.

          ORDER

          Gray H. Miller United States District Judge

          Pending before the court is a brief on damages filed by plaintiff Evanston Insurance Company (“Evanston”). Dkt. 29. Defendant Mid-Continent Casualty Company (“Mid-Continent”) did not respond to Evanston's brief. Having considered Evanston's brief and the applicable law, the court is of the opinion Evanston should be awarded: (1) actual damages in the amount of $1, 045, 106.63; (2) prejudgment interest in the amount of $87, 187.66; and (3) costs and postjudgment interest.

         I. Background

         Evanston filed this subrogation action seeking reimbursement from Mid-Continent for a portion of the payments Evanston made on behalf of their mutually insured, Global Waste Services LLC (“Global”). Dkt. 1. Mid-Continent issued a commercial automobile policy to Global with a $1, 000, 000 per-accident limit of liability. Id. ¶ 1. Evanston insured Global under an excess liability policy that was written in excess to the Mid-Continent policy. Id. ¶ 2.

         This case involves the payment of claims that resulted from a series of collisions involving a Global employee on November 15, 2013. Dkt. 14 ¶ 3. Evanston argued that four different accidents occurred, and that Mid-Continent was responsible for policy limits for each. Dkt. 15 at 16-17. These accidents include:

(1) a collision with Alexander Garcia's F150;
(2) a collision with Joseph Williams's Honda;
(3) a collision with a Harris County tollbooth; and
(4) a collision with Gwenetta Powell's Charger.

Id. Mid-Continent contended that the series of collisions constituted only one accident for the purposes of the $1, 000, 000 per-accident limit of liability.[1] Dkt. 17.

         In its order on September 29, 2017, the court found that three accidents occurred, resolving all of the disputed liability issues before the court. Dkt. 28. These accidents included: (1) the collision with Garcia's F150; (2) the collision with Williams's Honda and the collision with the tollbooth; and (3) the collision with Powell's Charger. Id. The parties do not dispute that (1) the claims resulting from the accident involving Garcia's F150 amounted to $4, 225.18; (2) the claims resulting from the accident involving Williams's Honda amounted to $4, 588, 140; and (3) the claims resulting from the accident involving Powell's vehicle amounted to $2, 125, 000. Dkt. 14 ¶¶ 16, 17, 20, 21. Mid-Continent paid $1, 000, 000 total and claimed policy limits. See Id. ¶ 17. Evanston paid $40, 991.45 in defense fees after Mid-Continent claimed exhaustion. Id. ¶ 23. As the disputed liability issues have been resolved, the only issue before the court is damages.

         II. Analysis

          A. Actual Damages

         An equitable subrogation claim “‘include[s] every instance in which one person, not acting voluntarily, has paid a debt for which another was primarily liable and which in equity and good conscience should have been discharged by the latter.'” Royal Ins. Co. of Am. v. Caliber One Indem. Co., 465 F.3d 614, 618-19 (5th Cir. 2006) (quoting Argonaut Ins. Co. v. Allstate Ins. Co., 869 S.W.2d 537, 541-42 (Tex. App.-Corpus Christi 1993, writ denied)). Thus, Mid-Continent is liable for the amount of claims that it should have discharged. Mid-Continent should have paid $2, 004, 225.18 in claims, resulting from: (1) $4, 225.18 for the accident with Garcia's ...


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