Wireless Buybacks, LLC v. Hanover American Insurance Company
MEMORANDUM OPINION. Signed by Chief Judge Catherine C. Blake on 8/3/2017. (kw2s, Deputy Clerk)
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE DISTRICT OF MARYLAND
WIRELESS BUYBACKS, LLC
HANOVER AMERICAN INS. CO.
Civil No. CCB-16-0328
Now pending is a motion for summary judgment filed by Hanover American Insurance
Company (“Hanover”). This summary judgment motion arose in the context of a dispute
between Wireless Buybacks, LLC (“Wireless”) and Hanover that originally centered on whether
Hanover had a duty to defend Wireless in an underlying lawsuit.1 On December 8, 2016, the
court concluded that Hanover does not have such a duty to defend. Wireless Buybacks, LLC v.
Hanover Am. Ins. Co., 223 F. Supp. 3d 443 (D. Md. 2016). Hanover now moves for summary
judgment on its counterclaim that, because it has no duty to defend in the underlying suit, it also
has no duty to indemnify Wireless for claims asserted in that suit. (Mot. for Summ. J., ECF No.
48). Wireless has responded, (Resp. in Opp’n to Mot. for Summ. J., ECF No. 49), and Hanover
has replied, (Reply, ECF No. 50). No oral argument is necessary. See Local Rule 105.6 (D. Md.
2016). For the reasons set forth below, the court will deny Hanover’s motion for summary
judgment and will dismiss without prejudice all claims related to the duty to indemnify.
In the underlying suit, Sprint Nextel Corporation and Sprint Communications Company, L.P. (“Sprint”)
sued Wireless and other defendants, alleging the defendants engaged in unlawful business practices.
United States District Court, District of Maryland, Case No. 1:13-cv-0617-CCB (“Sprint action”).
The court recently examined this same issue – whether a finding that an insurer has no
duty to defend automatically means the insurer has no duty to indemnify – in the context of a
similar dispute. See Unwired Solutions, Inc. v. Ohio Sec. Ins. Co., 2017 WL 1165953 (D. Md.
Mar. 29, 2017). As it did in that case, the court concludes it would be premature to make any
final ruling on the duty to indemnity at this time, because there may be instances where a duty to
indemnify exists absent a duty to defend. See Westfield Ins. Co. v. Nautilus Ins. Co., 154 F. Supp.
3d 259, 271–72 (M.D.N.C. 2016) (“While the reasons that may negate an insurer’s duty to
defend may also negate an insurer’s duty to indemnify, the duty to defend does not subsume the
duty to indemnify.”). Accordingly, the court will dismiss without prejudice all claims related to
the duty to indemnify. If either party wishes to further pursue this issue, it may do so once the
underlying litigation between Sprint and Wireless concludes.
For the aforementioned reasons, the court will deny Hanover’s motion for summary
judgment on the duty to indemnify issue and will dismiss without prejudice all claims related to
the duty to indemnify. A separate order follows.
Catherine C. Blake
United States District Judge
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