United States District Court, D. South Carolina, Columbia Division
OPINION AND ORDER GRANTING MOTION FOR SUMMARY
CAMERON MCGOWAN CURRIE Senior United States District Judge
this action, Plaintiff, Nationwide Mutual Fire Insurance
Company (“Nationwide”), seeks a declaratory
judgment that it has no obligation to provide liability
coverage to Defendant Appolonia Rush (“Rush”) for
claims arising from a vehicle accident in which Defendants
Robert and Toni Van Sickle (“Van Sickles”) were
injured. Those claims are now pending in Van Sickle and
Van Sickle v. Rush and Prince, SC Com. Pl. Case No.
2016-CP-43-620 (“Underlying Action”).
matter is before the court on Nationwide's motion for
summary judgment. For the reasons set forth below, the motion
judgment should be granted if “the movant shows that
there is no genuine dispute as to any material fact and the
movant is entitled to judgment as a matter of law.”
Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(a). It is well established that summary
judgment should be granted “only when it is clear that
there is no dispute concerning either the facts of the
controversy or the inferences to be drawn from those
facts.” Pulliam Inv. Co. v. Cameo Properties,
810 F.2d 1282, 1286 (4th Cir. 1987). The party moving for
summary judgment has the burden of showing the absence of a
genuine issue of material fact, and the court must view the
evidence before it and the inferences to be drawn therefrom
in the light most favorable to the nonmoving party.
United States v. Diebold, Inc., 369 U.S. 654, 655
56(c)(1) provides as follows:
(1) A party asserting that a fact cannot be or is genuinely
disputed must support the assertion by:
(A) citing to particular parts of materials in the record,
including depositions, documents, electronically stored
information, affidavits or declarations, stipulations . . .,
admissions, interrogatory answers or other materials; or
(b) showing that the materials cited do not establish the
absence or presence of a genuine dispute, or that an adverse
party cannot produce admissible evidence to support the fact.
Fed. R. Civ. P. 56(c)(1).
April 5, 2015, the vehicle driven by Rush struck the Van
Sickles' vehicle when Rush drove into its path. ECF No.
1-2, Underlying Action, Compl. ¶ 4 (incorrectly depicted
in the Underlying Action Complaint as the second paragraph
3). The Van Sickles allege Rush is liable for their injuries
because she was speeding and failed to keep her vehicle under
control and the accident was caused by her reckless driving.
Underlying Action, Compl. ¶¶ 4-5. They allege Ms.
Lois Prince (“Prince”), the owner of the vehicle,
is liable for Rush's negligence because she entrusted the
vehicle to Rush, authorizing her to drive the vehicle.
Underlying Action, Compl. ¶¶ 16, 18, 31. While
Prince was the owner of the vehicle, she allowed her son,
Broderick Goodwin (“Goodwin”), to use the vehicle
starting in 2009. ECF No. 25-4, Prince Dep. 13:6-14:1. At
that point, Goodwin did not reside with his mother, and she
acquired another car for her use. Id. at 14:2-9.
Both Goodwin and Prince testified at deposition that Prince
told Goodwin only he could drive the car, and no one else was
allowed to do so. Id. at 14:21-15:9; ECF No. 25-5,
Goodwin Dep. 13:19-14:8.
Nationwide Policy (“Policy”) that insures the
vehicle owned by Prince provides coverage for damages:
for which you are legally liable as a result of an accident
arising out of the ownership; maintenance or use; or loading
or unloading of your auto. A relative also has this
protection. So does any person or organization who is liable