STATE AUTO PROPERTY AND CASUALTY COMPANY v. HENDERSON et al
ORDER GRANTING 42 Motion for Default Judgment as to Defendant Sheila Henderson. The Court's findings and conclusions in this Order and the resulting default judgment apply only to Henderson. The Calloway Defendants are not bound by any admissions arising from Henderson's default or this judgment, and this Order is entered without prejudice against them. Ordered by Judge Marc Thomas Treadwell on 3/5/2013. (tlh)
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE MIDDLE DISTRICT OF GEORGIA
STATE AUTO PROPERTY &
SHELIA HENDERSON, ANDREW
CALLOWAY, and BRITTANY
CIVIL ACTION NO. 5:11-CV-499 (MTT)
Before the Court is Plaintiff State Auto Property & Casualty Company’s Motion
for Default Judgment as to Defendant Shelia Henderson. (Doc. 42). For the following
reasons, the Motion is GRANTED.
The Petition alleges that on July 31, 2011, Andrew and Brittany Calloway’s son,
Andrew Calloway, Jr., died while he was in the care of Shelia Henderson’s home
daycare operation, Sister-n-Sister. Henderson had a homeowner’s insurance policy
with State Auto at the time of Andrew Jr.’s death. The Calloway Defendants have
demanded that State Auto pay its policy limits to settle their tort claims, arising from
Andrew Jr.’s death.
On December 20, 2011, State Auto filed the present declaratory judgment action
seeking a declaration that Henderson’s homeowner’s insurance policy does not provide
coverage for Andrew Jr.’s death, because Henderson’s home daycare operation, Sistern-Sister, falls into the scope of the policy’s exclusion of coverage for injuries arising out
of an insured’s business. (Doc. 1). State Auto named Shelia Henderson, Andrew
Calloway and Brittany Calloway as defendants. Henderson did not file a timely answer,
and on January 24, 2012, the Clerk entered default against her. (Doc. 10).
At a party’s request, and following the Clerk’s entry of default, the Court may
enter a default judgment against a defendant who has failed to plead or otherwise
defend. See Fed. R. Civ. P. 55; Solaroll Shade and Shutter Corp., Inc. v. Bio-Energy
Sys, Inc., 803 F.2d 1130, 1134 (11th Cir. 1986). However, default judgment does not
follow automatically from an entry of default. The Court also “must ensure that the wellpleaded allegations in the complaint, which are taken as true due to the default, actually
state a substantive cause of action and that there is a substantive, sufficient basis in the
pleadings for the particular relief sought.” Tyco Fire & Sec., LLC v. Alcocer, 218 Fed.
Appx. 860, 863 (11th Cir. 2007). See also Nishimatsu Constr. Co. Ltd. v. Houston Nat’l
Bank, 515 F.2d 1200, 1206 (5th Cir. 1975).1 Here, State Auto seeks a judgment
declaring that Henderson’s homeowner’s insurance policy does not provide coverage
for claims arising out of Andrew Jr.’s death, because Henderson’s home daycare
operation, Sister-n-Sister, falls into the scope of the policy’s exclusion of coverage for
injuries arising out of an insured’s business.
In its Petition, State Auto has alleged a sufficient basis for this relief. State Auto
alleges that Henderson’s home daycare operation, Sister-n-Sister, is a business as
defined by the policy because Sister-n-Sister is Henderson’s “trade, occupation, or
profession engaged in on a full-time, part-time or occasional basis.” (Doc. 34-2 at 14).
Because Henderson’s home daycare operation falls within the policy’s definition of
The Eleventh Circuit has adopted as binding all decisions of the former Fifth Circuit rendered
prior to October 1, 1981. Bonner v. City of Prichard, 661 F.2d 1206 (11th Cir. 1981).
“business,” State Auto alleges that any liability arising out of or in connection with Sistern-Sister falls within Henderson’s homeowner’s policy’s business exclusion. Thus, State
Auto alleges it is not obligated to provide Henderson a defense in any liability action
arising out of the death of Andrew Jr., nor is it obligated to indemnify Henderson for any
judgment obtained against her in a liability action arising out of the death of Andrew Jr.
(Doc. 42). Given the facts alleged in State Auto’s Petition, State Auto has pleaded
allegations that provide a sufficient basis for the relief it seeks against Henderson.
Accordingly, default judgment against Henderson is GRANTED.
Of course, the Court’s findings and conclusions in this Order and the resulting
default judgment apply only to Henderson. The Calloway Defendants are not bound by
any admissions arising from Henderson’s default or this judgment, and this Order is
entered without prejudice against them.
SO ORDERED, this 5th day of March, 2013.
S/ Marc T. Treadwell
MARC T. TREADWELL, JUDGE
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
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