LANDRUM et al v. OZARK MOTOR LINES INC et al
ORDER granting 4 Defendant Ozark's Motion to Dismiss Complaint. Ordered by US DISTRICT JUDGE C ASHLEY ROYAL on 6/8/2017. (tlh)
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE MIDDLE DISTRICT OF GEORGIA
FREDDIE LANDRUM and ANNIE
LANDRUM as the PARENTS and
ADMINISTRATORS of PHIL
OZARK MOTOR LINES, INC., and
THE TRAVELERS INDEMNITY
No. 5:16‐CV‐525 (CAR)
ORDER ON MOTION TO DISMISS
Plaintiffs Freddie and Annie Landrum bring this action pursuant to the
Declaratory Judgment Act, 28 U.S.C. § 2201, to determine their rights and obligations
under an insurance policy issued to Defendant Ozark Motor Lines (“Ozark”) by
Defendant The Travelers Indemnity Company (“Travelers”). Before the Court is
Defendant Ozark’s Motion to Dismiss. The Court has carefully considered the parties’
arguments and the relevant law, and finds Plaintiffs’ claim against Defendant Ozark is
not properly before this Court under Rule 12(b)(1). Accordingly, the Court GRANTS
Defendant Ozark’s Motion to Dismiss [Doc. 4].
In this declaratory judgment action, Plaintiffs allege a commercial automobile
liability policy issued by Defendant Travelers to Defendant Ozark provides coverage
for the death of their son, Phil Landrum, who drove tractor‐trailers for Defendant
Ozark.1 When Plaintiffs asserted claims for underinsured motorist benefits under the
policy, Defendant Travelers denied coverage on the grounds that Phil Landrum is not
an additional insured under the policy.2 On October 28, 2016, Plaintiffs filed suit
against Defendant Travelers and Defendant Ozark.
Defendant Ozark seeks dismissal from this lawsuit, contending the Court lacks
subject matter jurisdiction because no justiciable case or controversy exists between
Plaintiffs and Defendant Ozark. 3 Plaintiffs concede Defendant Ozark “may, in fact, be
correct” that no case or controversy exists but contend the parties should be allowed to
conduct discovery to determine whether Defendant Ozark has any interest in this
lawsuit.4 The Court agrees with Defendant Ozark.
To establish a justiciable case or controversy, the party seeking a declaratory
judgment must show a substantial controversy between parties having adverse legal
Complaint, ¶ 15‐16 (Doc. 1‐2, p. 6).
Id. at ¶ 19 (Doc. 1‐2, p. 7).
3 Defendant Ozark originally sought dismissal for failure to state a claim. An argument that no justiciable
case or controversy exists, however, challenges a district court’s subject matter jurisdiction. GEICO Gen.
Ins. Co. v. Farag, 597 F. App’x 1053, 1057 (11th Cir. 2015) (unpublished decision) (citing U.S. Fire Ins. Co. v.
Caulkins Indiantown Citrus Co., 931 F.2d 744, 747 (11th Cir. 1991)).
4 Plaintiffs’ Response Brief [Doc. 9, p. 6].
interests of sufficient immediacy and reality to warrant a declaratory judgment.5 Here,
the dispute—whether Phil Landrum is an additional insured under the policy—is only
between Plaintiffs and Defendant Travelers. No such dispute exists between Plaintiffs
and Defendant Ozark, the named insured.6 Accordingly, Plaintiffs fail to establish a
justiciable case or controversy with Defendant Ozark.
For the reasons set forth above, the Court HEREBY GRANTS Defendant Ozark’s
Motion to Dismiss [Doc. 4].
SO ORDERED, this 8th day of June, 2017.
S/ C. Ashley Royal
C. ASHLEY ROYAL, SENIOR JUDGE
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
Maryland Cas. Co. v. Pacific Coal & Oil Co., 312 U.S. 270, 273, 61 S. Ct. 510, 512 (1941). See also Cardinal
Chem. Co. v. Morton Int’l, Inc., 508 U.S. 83, 95, 113 S. Ct. 1967, 1974 (1993) (explaining party seeking
declaratory judgment has burden of establishing justiciability).
6 Provident Life & Accident Ins. Co. v. Transamerica‐Occidental Life Ins. Co., 850 F.2d 1489, 1490‐91 (11th Cir.
1988) (explaining “[c]ourts have found the case or controversy requirement lacking . . . when the
defendant has no interest in the case” and “when no conflict exists in the case”).
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