United States District Court, D. South Carolina, Charleston Division
ORDER AND OPINION
Richard Mark Gergel, United States District Court Judge
matter is before the Court on Plaintiff Catlin Specialty
Insurance Group's unopposed motion for judgment on the
pleadings. For the reasons set forth below, the Court grants
I. Legal Standard
the pleadings are closed-but early enough not to delay
trial-a party may move for judgment on the pleadings."
Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(c). Rule 12(c) motions "dispose of cases
in which there is no substantive dispute that warrants the
litigants and the court proceeding further." Lewis
v. Excel Mech, LLC, 2:13-CV-281-PMD, 2013 WL 4585873 at
* 1 (D.S.C. Aug. 28, 2013) (quoting 5 Charles Alan Wright
& Arthur R. Miller, Federal Practice and Procedure,
§ 1368 (3d ed. 2010)). A judgment on the pleadings is
only warranted if "the moving party has clearly
established that no material issue of fact remains to be
resolved and the party is entitled to judgment as a matter of
law." Id. at * 2 (quoting Park Univ.
Enters, v. Am. Cas. Co., 442 F.3d 1239, 1244 (10th Cir.
12(c) motions limit the court's review to the pleadings,
Abell Co. v. Bait. Typographical Union No. 12, 338
F.2d 190, 193 (4th Cir. 1964), and "any documents and
exhibits attached to and incorporated into the pleadings,
" Lewis, 2013 WL 4585873 at * 1 (citing
Eagle Nation, Inc. v. Mkt. Force, Inc., 180
F.Supp.2d 752, 754 (E.D. N.C. 2001)). Like motions filed
under Rule 12(b)(6), motions pursuant to Rule 12(c) call for
the pleadings to be construed in the light most favorable to
the non-moving party. Burbach Broad. Co. v. Elkins Radio
Corp., 278 F.3d 401, 405-06 (4th Cir. 2002).
Accordingly, "[t]he court must accept all well pleaded
factual allegations in the non-moving party's pleadings
as true and reject all contravening assertions in the moving
party's pleadings as false." Lewis, 2013 WL
4585873, at * 2 (quoting John S. Clark Co., Inc. v.
United Nat'l Ins. Co., 304 F.Supp.2d 758, 763 (M.D.
Daniel Smith alleges that on December 31, 2013 he was a
patron at the Big Beaver Bar in Murrells Inlet, South
Carolina when "the Defendants' employees and/or
patrons grabbed [him] and proceeded to physically injure
[him]." (Dkt. Nos. 7 ¶ 11, 7-1 ¶¶ 10-11,
8 ¶ 6.) The defendants Mr. Smith refers to are the two
LLCs that own and operate Big Beaver Bar and Leslye Beaver,
the manager of both LLCs. In the underlying lawsuit, Mr.
Smith asserts claims of negligence, negligent
misrepresentation, negligent hiring, negligent supervision,
negligent retention, and violation of the South Carolina
Unfair Trade Practices Act against those defendants.
Catlin Insurance issued commercial general liability policy
number 3900101189 to the LLCs for a period that includes
December 31, 2013. That policy has an "Assault and
Battery Exclusion" that provides:
this policy does not apply to "bodily injury",
"personal injury" or "property damage"
arising out of an assault and battery or out of any act or
omission in connection with the prevention or suppression of
such acts, including the failure to warn, train or supervise,
whether caused by or at the instigation or direction of the
Insured, his employees, patrons or any other person.
(Dkt. No. 7-2.) In the present action, Catlin seeks a
declaration that it has no duty to defend or indemnify the
LLCs or Ms. Beaver (hereinafter, the "Underlying
Defendants") because the Assault and Battery Exclusion
applies and excludes Mr. Smith's claims from coverage.
do not deny that the policy contains the Assault and Battery
Exclusion. (See Dkt. Nos. 8 ¶ 8 (Underlying
Defendants' answer to the complaint), 25 ¶ 7 (Mr.
Smith's answer to the complaint).) Further, the
Underlying Defendants admit the allegations contained in
paragraphs 19-20 and 23-25 of the complaint. (Dkt. Nos. 8
¶¶ 6, 7, 9; 25 ¶ 5, 6, 8.) Paragraph 25 of the
complaint alleges, "all of the Claimant's injuries
arose out of an assault and battery-being 'grabbed'
and 'physically injured'-or out of some action or
omission in connection with the prevention, suppression or
failure to protect or suppress an assault and battery."
(Dkt. No. 1 ¶ 25.)
deny paragraph 26 of the complaint, which states,
"Accordingly, the Claimant's injuries fall within
the scope of the assault and battery exclusion, " but
that is a legal conclusion, not a factual allegation to admit
or deny. Defendants have admitted all the factual allegations
supporting that legal conclusion. Moreover, Defendants have
not opposed Plaintiffs motion for judgment on that legal
conclusion. (See Dkt. No. 27 (joint status report
reporting that no Defendant intends to make any further
filing in this action).) The Court therefore deems it
admitted that the Assault and Battery Exclusion applies to
Mr. Smith's claims against the Underlying Defendants.
Accordingly, the Court grants Plaintiffs motion for judgment
on the pleadings.
foregoing reasons, the Court GRANTS
Plaintiffs motion for judgment on the pleadings (Dkt. No. 16)
and DECLARES that under the assault and
battery endorsement of commercial general liability policy
3900101189, in effect from September 27, 2013 through
September 27, 2014, Plaintiff Catlin Specialty Insurance
Company is not obligated to defend or to indemnify Defendant
Lowcountry Oysters of Murrells Inlet, LLC, Lowcountry
Oysters, LLC, and Leslye Beaver with respect to the claims in
Daniel Smith v. The Original Beaver Bar d/b/a The Beaver
Bar, The Beaver ...