United States District Court, D. Hawaii
GRANTING PLAINTIFF’S MOTION FOR DEFAULT JUDGMENT OR, IN
THE ALTERNATIVE, FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT AGAINST DEFENDANT IAIN
MORRIS, AND SUMMARY JUDGMENT AGAINST INTERVENOR-DEFENDANT
LAWRENCE SCOTT BUCKNELL, AND DENYING
INTERVENOR-DEFENDANT’S COUNTER MOTION FOR SUMMARY
JUDGMENT ON COUNTERCLAIM
C. KAY United States District Judge.
reasons set forth below, the Court GRANTS Plaintiff State
Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Company’s Motion for
Default Judgment or, in the Alternative, for Summary Judgment
Against Defendant Iain Morris, and Summary Judgment Against
Intervenor-Defendant Lawrence Scott Bucknell, ECF No. 23, and
DENIES Intervenor-Defendant Lawrence Scott Bucknell’s
Counter Motion for Summary Judgment on Counterclaim, ECF No.
December 11, 2015, Plaintiff State Farm Mutual Automobile
Insurance Company (“State Farm”) filed a
Complaint for Declaratory Judgment (“Complaint”)
asking this Court for a declaration that State Farm has no
duty to defend or indemnify Defendant Iain Morris for claims
asserted against him in an underlying lawsuit brought by
Intervenor-Defendant Lawrence Scott Bucknell, or for any
other claims that may arise out of the subject matter of the
underlying lawsuit. Complaint at 9, ECF No. 1.
January 22, 2016, State Farm’s counsel filed a
declaration stating that a certified copy of the Complaint
had been served on Morris by certified mail on January 19,
2016. ECF No. 10. Attached to the declaration was an executed
receipt of service. ECF No. 10-1. Morris having failed to
file a responsive pleading or otherwise defend against the
Complaint, on March 7, 2016, State Farm requested that the
Clerk of Court enter Morris’s default. ECF No. 15.
Thus, on March 8, 2016, the Clerk of Court filed an Entry of
Default against Iain Morris as to the Complaint for
Declaratory Judgment. ECF No. 16.
on February 22, 2016, the Court approved a stipulation
between State Farm and Bucknell permitting Bucknell to
intervene in this case as a defendant. ECF No. 11. Bucknell
thereafter filed an Answer to State Farm’s Complaint on
March 23, 2016. ECF No. 20. Additionally, Bucknell filed a
Counterclaim for Declaratory Relief
(“Counterclaim”) requesting this Court to declare
that State Farm must indemnify Morris for the claims asserted
against him in the underlying lawsuit and any other claims
that may arise out of the same. ECF No. 20-1 at 5-6. State
Farm filed an Answer to Bucknell’s Counterclaim on
April 12, 2016. ECF No. 22.
April 26, 2016, State Farm filed its Motion for Default
Judgment or, in the Alternative, for Summary Judgment Against
Defendant Iain Morris, and Summary Judgment Against
Intervenor-Defendant Lawrence Scott Bucknell, along with a
Memorandum in Support of Motion (“Pl.’s
Mot.”). State Farm also filed a Concise Statement of
Facts in Support of its Motion (“Pl.’s
CSF”). ECF No. 24. State Farm argues that it is
entitled to default judgment against Morris due to
Morris’s failure to plead in response to or otherwise
defend against the Complaint. Pl.’s Mot. at 1.
Alternatively, State Farm argues that summary judgment is
appropriate against Morris because Morris does not qualify as
an “insured” under the subject car insurance
policy for any of the claims asserted against him in the
underlying lawsuit. Id. at 1-2. Consequently, State
Farm asserts that the Court should grant summary judgment in
its favor as to Bucknell because State Farm owes no duty to
indemnify Morris for claims asserted against him by Bucknell
in the underlying lawsuit. Id. at 2.
27, 2016, Bucknell filed an Opposition to State Farm’s
Motion and a Counter Motion for Summary Judgment on
Counterclaim, along with a Combined Memorandum in support
thereof (“Def.’s MSJ”). Bucknell also
filed a Separate and Concise Statement of Facts in Support of
his Motion and in Opposition to State Farm’s Motion
(“Def.’s CSF”). Bucknell argues that State
Farm’s policy is inconsistent with Hawaii law, public
policy, and the reasonable expectations of laypersons, and
that the Court should therefore deny State Farm’s
Motion for Summary Judgment and declare that State Farm is
obligated to defend and indemnify Morris in the underlying
lawsuit. Def.’s MSJ at 3-4, 13.
1, 2016, State Farm filed a combined Reply in support of its
Motion and Opposition to Bucknell’s Counter Motion
(“Pl.’s Reply”). ECF No. 31. Bucknell filed
a Reply in support of his Counter Motion (“Def.’s
Reply”) on July 11, 2016. ECF No. 34.
Court held a hearing regarding the Motions on July 18, 2016.
The Underlying Lawsuit
December 2, 2013, Bucknell filed a complaint against Morris
in the Circuit Court of the First Circuit, State of Hawaii
for injuries Bucknell allegedly sustained when a rental car
Morris was driving collided with Bucknell’s motorcycle.
Pl.’s CSF ¶ 1; Bucknell v. Morris, Civil
No. 13-1-3140-12 VLC, Circuit Court of the First Circuit,
State of Hawaii, Decl. of Counsel Ex. A, ECF No. 24-2.
complaint alleges that on July 22, 2013, Morris was driving a
rental car in the eastbound lane of Kamehameha Highway when
he attempted to execute a left turn into a parking area just
as Bucknell was approaching from the opposite direction on
his motorcycle. Decl. of Counsel Ex. A ¶¶ 6-10. The
complaint states that Morris, in failing to yield the
right-of-way to Bucknell, caused the vehicles to collide,
resulting in “serious and permanent injuries to
[Bucknell], including but not limited to head injury, spinal
injury, internal injuries, lower leg paralysis, multiple
abrasions, contusion, and lacerations.” Id.
¶¶ 11-13. Bucknell asserts that, as a result, he
has incurred medical and therapeutic expenses in excess of
$522, 595.50, which expenses continue to accrue. Id.
complaint alleges two causes of action: 1) negligence and 2)
punitive damages. Id. ¶ 2. Bucknell prays for
special, general, and punitive damages, as well as
prejudgment interest from July 22, 2013 until judgment is
entered, attorney’s fees and costs, and such other
relief as the court deems just and equitable. Id.
Farm is currently providing a defense to Morris in the
underlying lawsuit subject to a full reservation of rights.
Pl.’s CSF ¶ 12.
The Rental Transaction
entered into a rental agreement with Advantage Rent A Car
(“Advantage”) for the rental of a 2012 Toyota
Corolla on June 11, 2013. Id. ¶ 5. On July 22,
2013 - the date of the collision - Morris had been in
possession of the rental car for 41 consecutive days.
Id. ¶ 6.
rental agreement Morris listed a home/business address in
Hollister, California. Id. ¶ 7. Alternatively,
Morris resides in Colorado Springs, Colorado. Id.
State Farm’s Insurance Policy
G. Morris and Judith A. Morris are listed as the named
insureds on a State Farm Car Policy, Policy No. 147
0655-C17-06D (the “Policy”). Id. ¶
10; Decl. of Counsel Ex. H at 2, ECF No. 24-10. William G.
Morris and Judith A. Morris are Defendant Morris’s
parents. See Complaint ¶ 17; Def.’s MSJ
at 2. The Policy is written on Colorado Policy Form 9806B and
insures a 2009 Subaru Outback. Pl.’s Mot. at 4.
Policy states that State Farm “will pay damages an
insured becomes legally liable to pay because of . . . bodily
injury to others . . . caused by an accident that involves a
vehicle for which that insured is provided Liability Coverage
by this policy.” Policy at 7. Relevant here, an
“insured” is defined in the Policy to include
“resident relatives” for “the maintenance
or use of . . . a non-owned car or . . . a temporary
substitute car.” Id. at 6. The Policy further
Car means a car that is in the lawful possession of you or
any resident relative and that neither:
1. is owned by:
b. any resident relative;
c. any other person who resides primarily in your household;
d. an employer of any person described in a., b., or c.
2. has been operated by, rented by, or in the possession
a. you; or
b. any resident relative during any part of each of the 31 or
more consecutive days immediately prior to the date of the
accident or loss.
Substitute Car means a car that is in the lawful possession
of the person operating it and that:
replaces your car for a short time while your car is out of
use due to its:
d. damage; or
e. theft; and
2. neither you nor the person operating it own or have
If a car qualifies as both a non-owned car and a temporary
substitute car, then it is considered a temporary substitute
Resident Relative means a person, other than you, who resides
primarily with the first person shown as a named insured on
the Declarations Page and who is:
1. related to that named insured or his or her spouse by
blood, marriage, or adoption, including an unmarried and
unemancipated child of either who is away at school and
otherwise maintains his or her primary residence with that
named insured; or
2. a ward or a foster child of that named insured, his or her
spouse, or a person described in 1. above.
Id. at 4-5.