NATIONWIDE MUTUAL INSURANCE COMPANY v. BELLS FOOD MARKET et al
ORDER denying 22 Motion for Default Judgment; denying 23 Motion for Summary Judgment; finding as moot 33 Motion for Leave to File. Ordered by US DISTRICT JUDGE CLAY D LAND on 09/01/2017. (CCL)
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE MIDDLE DISTRICT OF GEORGIA
NATIONWIDE MUTUAL INSURANCE
CASE NO. 3:17-CV-4 (CDL)
BELL’S FOOD MARKET and JAMES
O R D E R
Defendant James Edwards tripped over a freeze-pop display
at Defendant Bell’s Food Market.
He fell and broke his hip.
Bell’s liability insurance carrier, Plaintiff Nationwide Mutual
Insurance Company, does not want to defend Mr. Edwards’s claim
against Bell’s or pay the claim if Bell’s is found liable to Mr.
policy because it received late notice of the claim.
Viewed in the light most favorable to Bell’s, the present
employees complete an incident report; was adamant that the fall
was his fault; and told Bell’s managers that he would not make a
claim against Bell’s.
Mr. Edwards’s son, a Bell’s employee,
later confirmed to Bell’s managers that Mr. Edwards did not
Edwards changed his mind and decided to make a claim against
At that time, Bell’s notified its insurance agent of
policy issued by Nationwide.
Under the policy, Bell’s had a
occurrence that may result in a claim.
Under Georgia law, in
most cases, “the reasonableness of a failure to give notice is a
question for the finder of fact.”
Forshee v. Employers Mut.
Plantation Pipeline Co. v. Royal Indem. Co., 537 S.E.2d 165, 167
failing to notify the insurer of a potential claim.
711 S.E.2d at 31.
“Relevant circumstances include the nature of
the event, the extent to which it would appear to a reasonable
person in the
circumstances of the insured that injuries or
severity of any such injuries or damage.”
“A court also
properly may consider whether anyone gave an indication that he
resulting injuries . . . .”
Based on the record viewed in the light most favorable to
Bell’s—as the Court must view the record at this stage in the
unreasonably delayed giving Nationwide notice of Mr. Edwards’s
Nationwide’s summary judgment motion (ECF No.
23) is thus denied.2
IT IS SO ORDERED, this 1st day of September, 2017.
S/Clay D. Land
CLAY D. LAND
CHIEF U.S. DISTRICT COURT JUDGE
MIDDLE DISTRICT OF GEORGIA
The Court considered the cases Nationwide cited in its brief,
including Brit UW Ltd. v. Hallister Property Development, LLC, 6 F.
Supp. 3d 1321 (N.D. Ga. 2014). Brit, which is not binding precedent,
is distinguishable from this case because the insured in Brit merely
assumed that the injured person would not bring a claim. In contrast,
here, the evidence viewed in the light most favorable to Bell’s
suggests that the injured party affirmatively, unequivocally, and
repeatedly stated that the fall was his fault and that he did not
intend to bring a claim against Bell’s.
Nationwide’s Motion for Default Judgment as to Defendant James
Edwards (ECF No. 22) is denied without prejudice at this time. Bell’s
motion for leave to file a sur-reply in opposition to summary judgment
(ECF No. 33) is denied as moot.
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