Submitted: August 9, 2019
Motion for Partial Summary Judgment Regarding Plaintiffs
Punitive Damages Claim. Denied.
William D. Fletcher, Jr., Esquire of Schmittinger &
Rodriguez, P.A., Dover, Delaware; attorney for Plaintiff.
Kenneth M. Doss, Esquire of Casarino Christman Shalk Ransom
& Doss, P.A., Wilmington, Delaware; attorney for
WILLIAM L. WITHAM. JR. RESIDENT JUDGE
before the Court is Defendant, Nationwide Mutual Insurance
Co., (hereinafter "Nationwide") and its motion for
partial summary judgment in a claim for Underinsured Motorist
(hereinafter "UIM") benefits filed by Plaintiff
Casey Shelor (hereinafter "Plaintiff). After considering
the record as presented and the parties' arguments, it
appears to the Court that:
AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY
Plaintiff presently resides in the State of Delaware at 66
Nomad Trial, Camden-Wyoming, Delaware 19934.
Nationwide is a licensed insurance provider authorized to
transact insurance sales in Delaware.
Plaintiff had a Nationwide automobile insurance policy that
covered the period between November 14, 2015 through May 14,
agreement provided coverage on her vehicle and included
UM/UIM coverage in the amount of $100, 000 per person and
$300, 000 per accident.
During the coverage period, Plaintiff was operating her car,
a 2008 Acura TSX, on February 7, 2016. At approximately 11:18
a.m. that morning, Plaintiff was driving in Camden, Delaware,
traveling westbound on Willow Grove Road approaching the
intersection with Dundee Road.
Anthony Wester (hereinafter "Wester"), the alleged
tortfeasor, was driving a 2001 Toyota Celica and traveling
northbound on Dundee Road. Wester allegedly ran a stop sign
at the intersection of Dundee Road and Willow Grove Road and
stuck Plaintiffs vehicle. Plaintiff suffered severe bodily
injuries as a result of the accident.
Wester was an underinsured driver pursuant to 18 Del.
Plaintiff filed her claim in this Court seeking UIM benefits
on June 27, 2018. Nationwide filed its response, in
opposition, on August 22, 2018. Nationwide subsequently filed
a motion for partial summary judgment on May 21, 2019 and
seeks partial summary judgment regarding Plaintiffs punitive
damages claim only.Plaintiff responded, in opposition, on
June 4, 2019.
Court conducted a hearing on the motion on August 9, 2019.
STANDARD OF REVIEW
9. On a
motion for summary judgment pursuant to Superior Court Civil
Rule 56, the moving party has the initial burden of showing
that no material issues of fact exist and that he is entitled
to a judgment as a matter of law. The burden then shifts to
the non-moving party to demonstrate that a genuine issue of
material fact exists. The facts must be viewed in the light
most favorable to the non-moving party.Summary judgment may
not be granted if the record indicates that a material fact
is in dispute, or if it seems desirable to inquire more
thoroughly into the facts in order to clarify the application
of the law to the circumstances. However, when the facts
permit a reasonable person to draw but one inference, the
question becomes one for decision as a matter of
argues that because Plaintiff s policy with Nationwide
"clearly and unambiguously" excludes coverage for
punitive damages, the policy is enforceable and ...