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Pekin Insurance Co. v. Kelly

United States District Court, D. Arizona

November 25, 2014

PEKIN INSURANCE COMPANY, Plaintiff,
v.
MARIANNE S. KELLY, WILLIAM BONNAMY; and JEAN GLASS, Defendants.

ORDER

H. RUSSEL HOLLAND, District Judge.

Cross-Motions for Judgment on the Pleadings

Plaintiff moves for judgment on the pleadings.[1] This motion is opposed and defendant Kelly cross-moves for judgment on the pleadings.[2] Oral argument was not requested and is not deemed necessary.

Background

Plaintiff is Pekin Insurance Company. Defendants are Marianne S. Kelly, William Bonnamy, and Jean Glass.[3]

Plaintiff issued a homeowners' liability policy, Policy No. EH0037583, to Kelly.[4] The policy provided homeowners' insurance to Kelly for the period of July 20, 2013 to July 20, 2014.[5]

On March 21, 2014, defendant Bonnamy filed a suit in state court against Kelly and others.[6] Bonnamy asserted four claims: 1) defamation, 2) intentional infliction of emotional distress, 3) invasion of privacy, and 4) false light. In his complaint, Bonnamy alleges that he is the significant other of defendant Glass and that Glass was previously involved in a romantic relationnship with David Hussy.[7] Bonnamy alleges that "[b]eginning in early March 2014, [Hussy and Kelly] began to send numerous defamatory emails and other communications to various third-parties" about Glass and that these emails "were sent... in an attempt to damage Ms. Glass' reputation and cause her emotional harm."[8] Bonnamy further alleges that "[o]n March 6, 2014, Ms. Kelly sent a threatening and defamatory email to Mr. Bonnamy making similar threats to ruin Ms. Glass' reputation and accusing her of fraudulent and improper conduct in her dealings with Mr. Hussy."[9] Bonnamy also alleges that Kelly "during... an open house, ... entered Mr. Bonnamy's and Ms. Glass' residence posing as an interested buyer, and... took photographs of Ms. Glass' personal belongings and private papers belonging to Mr. Bonnamy."[10] Bonnamy also alleges that Kelly and Hussy have "made... false and defamatory statements about Mr. Bonnamy to other third-parties" and that on March 10, 2014, Kelly sent another threatening email to Glass.[11]

In his defamation claim, Bonnamy alleges that Hussy and Kelly knew that the statements they were making "were false" or that they made the statements "in reckless disregard of their truth or falsity."[12] Bonnamy further alleges that Hussy and Kelly "falsely, maliciously and wrongfully intended to injure Mr. Bonnamy's good name and reputation and expose him to public contempt, suspicion and financial injury."[13] In his intentional infliction of emotional distress claim, Bonnamy alleges that Hussy and Kelly's "actions are and were done with the intent to harm or injure Mr. Bonnamy, or with complete disregard for Mr. Bonnamy's interests or welfare."[14] Bonnamy further alleges that Hussy's and Kelly's "unjustified and intentional conduct was and is purposely directed to injure and harass Mr. Bonnamy with the described accompanying and resulting emotional distress and mental anguish suffered by Mr. Bonnamy."[15] In his false light claim, Bonnamy alleges that Hussy and Kelly "either knew or acted in reckless disregard as to the falsity of the matters made public about Mr. Bonnamy."[16] In all four claims, in connection with his request for punitive damages, Bonnamy alleges that Hussy's and Kelly's "actions were intentional, wanton and reckless and showed ill will and demonstrated a reckless indifference disregard for the rights of and owed to Mr. Bonnamy...."[17]

On March 19, 2014, Glass filed a third-party complaint against Kelly and Jean Eannacone in an action that Hussy had filed against Glass. Glass alleges that Kelly has sent numerous defamatory emails about her (Glass) to third parties and that Kelly has sent a threatening and defamatory email about Bonnamy to third parties.[18] As did Bonnamy, Glass alleges that Kelly entered Glass' and Bonnamy's home during the open house for improper purposes.[19] Glass also alleges that Hussy and Kelly "sent email correspondence directly to Ms. Glass stating that they will ruin her reputation and continue their smear campaign against Ms. Glass' reputation."[20] Glass asserts two claims in her third-party complaint: 1) intentional infliction of emotional distress and 2) defamation. In her IIED claim, Glass alleges that Kelly's "actions are and were done with the intent to harm or injure Ms. Glass, or with complete disregard for Ms. Glass' interests or welfare."[21] Glass further alleges that Kelly's "unjustified and intentional conduct was and is purposely directed to injure and harass Ms. Glass with the described accompanying and resulting emotional distress and mental anguish suffered by Ms. Glass" and that "[b]ecause of" Kelly's "unjustifiable conduct and actions towards Ms. Glass, Ms. Glass has endured and continues to suffer severe emotional distress, mental anguish and anxiety."[22]

In her defamation claim, Glass alleges that Kelly "knew that the [alleged defamatory] statements were false, or proceeded to make such statements in reckless disregard of their truth or falsity."[23] Glass further alleges that Kelly "falsely, maliciously and wrongfully intended to injure Ms. Glass' good name and reputation and expose her to public contempt, suspicion and financial injury."[24] In connection with her request for punitive damages, Glass alleges that Kelly's "actions were intentional, wanton and reckless and showed ill will and demonstrated a reckless indifference disregard for the rights of and owed to Ms. Glass...."[25]

On May 12, 2014, Glass filed a direct action against Kelly and Eannacone.[26] Glass makes the same factual allegations as she did in her third-party complaint but she alleges four claims against Kelly in the direct action complaint: 1) intentional infliction of emotional distress, 2) defamation, 3) invasion of privacy, and false light. The IIED and defamation claims are identical to those in Glass' third-party complaint against Kelly as are Glass' punitive damages allegations. In her false light claim, Glass alleges that Kelly "either knew or acted in reckless disregard as to the falsity of the matters made public about Ms. Glass."[27]

Kelly tendered her defense of all three lawsuits and plaintiff "has agreed to provide Kelly with a defense" under a reservation of rights.[28] The policy was endorsed to include "personal injury coverage" which provides as follows:

If a claim is made or suit is brought against an "insured" for damages resulting from an offense, defined under "personal injury", to which this coverage applies, we will:
1. Pay up to our limit or liability for the damages for which an "insured" is legally liable. Damages include prejudgment interest ...

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