Owners Insurance Company v. John Barone, II
Per Curiam OPINION filed : AFFIRMED, decision not for publication. Martha Craig Daughtrey, Circuit Judge; R. Guy Cole , Jr., Circuit Judge and Helene N. White, Circuit Judge.
NOT RECOMMENDED FOR FULL-TEXT PUBLICATION
File Name: 14a0228n.06
Case No. 11-3718
UNITED STATES COURT OF APPEALS
FOR THE SIXTH CIRCUIT
OWNERS INSURANCE COMPANY,
JOHN BARONE, II,
Mar 26, 2014
DEBORAH S. HUNT, Clerk
ON APPEAL FROM THE
UNITED STATES DISTRICT
COURT FOR THE NORTHERN
DISTRICT OF OHIO
DAUGHTREY, COLE, and WHITE, Circuit Judges.
PER CURIAM. Owners Insurance Company appeals an order granting a partial motion
for summary judgment in favor of John Barone, II. Barone holds a homeowners insurance
policy issued by Owners. The policy was in place in June 2008, when Barone had a new
Mastercraft speedboat, a wakeboard, and other accessories delivered to his Florida home. The
next month, Jessica Merritt was injured while riding the wakeboard as Barone drove the boat.
Merritt brought suit against Barone alleging that her injuries were attributable in part to his
negligence. Shortly after that, Barone informed Owners of the new boat and of the accident.
Owners began defending Barone in Merritt’s suit under a reservation of right, but the company
brought its own suit asking the district court to declare that it had no duty to defend Barone under
Case No. 11-3718
Owners Ins. Co. v. Barone
the insurance policy. Owners and Barone filed cross-motions for summary judgment. The court
found that the policy entitled Barone to a defense in Merritt’s suit, and we affirm.
We review a district court’s grant of summary judgment de novo. Tysinger v. Police
Dep’t of City of Zanesville, 463 F.3d 569, 572 (6th Cir. 2006). A motion for summary judgment
should be granted if the movant demonstrates that there is no genuine dispute of material fact and
the movant is entitled to judgment as a matter of law. Id.; Fed. R. Civ. P. 56(a). We view the
facts and draw all inferences in the light most favorable to the non-moving party. McKinnie v.
Roadway Express, Inc., 341 F.3d 554, 557 (6th Cir. 2003) (citing Matsushita Elec. Co. v. Zenith
Radio Corp., 475 U.S. 574, 587 (1986)). To establish a genuine dispute of fact for trial, the nonmoving party must point to evidence on the record upon which a reasonable finder of fact could
find in its favor. Id.
Under Ohio law, ambiguous contract terms are “construed strictly against the insurer and
liberally in favor of the insured.” King v. Nationwide Ins. Co., 519 N.E.2d 1380, 1383 (Ohio
1988). The district court found the insurance policy language ambiguous with regard to whether
the wakeboard was covered and therefore interpreted the policy in Barone’s favor. The court
then held that Owners has a duty to defend Barone from all of Marritt’s claims arising out of the
accident, and that Owners must indemnify Barone for any damages arising from the use and
defectiveness of the wakeboard.
Because the persuasive reasoning that supports this decision has been clearly and
thoroughly articulated by the district court in its opinion, a detailed written opinion from this
court would be unnecessarily duplicative. We affirm the Memorandum Opinion issued on June
6, 2011, on the basis of the reasoning contained therein.
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