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Hudson Insurance Co. v. Alamo Crude Oil, LLC

United States District Court, W.D. Texas, San Antonio Division

July 24, 2019

HUDSON INSURANCE COMPANY, Plaintiff,
v.
ALAMO CRUDE OIL, LLC, NATHAN MICHAEL JOHNSON, and AMTRANS EXPRESS, LLC, Defendants.

          ORDER

          XAVIER RODRIGUEZ UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

         On this date, the Court considered Plaintiff's Motion for Summary Judgment against Defendant Alamo Crude Oil, LLC (docket no. 17). Alamo did not respond. Even though unopposed, the Court will analyze the motions and applicable law to determine whether the requested relief is appropriate. After careful consideration, the Court hereby GRANTS Plaintiff's motion.

         BACKGROUND

         In this case, Plaintiff Hudson Insurance Company seeks a declaration that it owes no duty to defend or to indemnify Defendants Alamo Crude Oil, Nathan Michael Johnson, and Amtrans Express in an underlying state court lawsuit.

         I. The Policy

         Hudson issued a Non-Trucking Liability Policy (“the Policy”) and an Excess Policy to Pablo Castaneda, managing member of Alamo, for the policy period of January 1, 2015 to January 1, 2016. Coverage triggered under the Policy applies to a 2003 Volvo Truck/Tractor (“the Truck”) while it is operated for non-commercial operations. It “supplements your commercial trucking liability coverage[.]” Docket no. 17-1 at 15. It applies, then, when the Truck is driven without a trailer attached and without any intent to perform business-related activity for the motor carrier that leased the Truck.

         The Policy states that “[t]his insurance applies only to those covered autos (i) that are scheduled and designated in each Named Insured's Certificate of Insurance that is attached to and forming a part of this policy . . .; and (ii) for which at the time of accident or loss, there is a valid long term lease agreement existing between the Named Insured and a motor carrier.” Docket no. 17-1 at 15. Under the Policy, the Named Insured is Castaneda and, with some exceptions, those who use the Truck with Castenada's permission. The covered auto designated in Castenada's Certificate of Insurance is the Truck. When coverage applies, Hudson has the duty to defend any insured against a claim for damages (bodily injury or property damage) caused by an accident. Id.

         Finally, one coverage exclusion is relevant here. The Policy excludes from coverage “[b]odily injury or property damage arising from the use of a covered auto . . . while used to carry property in any business or en route for such purpose.” Id. at 19.

         II. Underlying Suit

         The underlying suit stems from a March 4, 2015 auto collision. This collision allegedly injured Plaintiff Artemio Sanchez, who was a pedestrian on IH-20 at the time. The defendants are Genuine Parts Company, Black Horse Carriers, Inc., Christopher Vavra, Alamo, Amtrans, and Johnson. Hudson alleges that, when Johnson and Alamo were added as defendants in the underlying suit, Hudson provided a defense. Amtrans has been defended under its Liability Policy.

         When the collision happened, Johnson was driving the Truck, which was owned by Alamo and leased or rented to Amtrans. Johnson's alleged negligence in failing to apply his brakes caused the collision. In the underlying suit, he is alleged to have acted within the course and scope of his employment for Alamo.

         Hudson alleges it is not disputed that Johnson was on his way to pick up and haul a load for Amtrans; Johnson had a trailer attached to the Truck; Johnson exclusively hauled for Amtrans when he drove the Truck; and Amtrans' placard was on the Truck when Johnson drove the truck and at the time of the collision. Docket no. 1 at 8. In the underlying suit's pleadings, however, it is not alleged why Johnson was traveling westbound on IH-20 at the time of the accident.

         III. Procedural History

         On February 14, 2019, Hudson filed its complaint, seeking a declaratory judgment that it has no duty to defend or to indemnify Defendants under the Policy. Docket no. 1. On May 28, Hudson moved for summary judgment against Alamo. Docket no. 17. Defendants Amtrans and ...


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