Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

WINDSOR MOUNT JOY MUTUAL INSURANCE COMPANY v. JOHNSON

May 27, 2003

WINDSOR MOUNT JOY MUTUAL INSURANCE COMPANY, PLAINTIFF,
v.
KEVIN JOHNSON, DEFENDANT/THIRD-PARTY PLAINTIFF, V. DLW ENTERPRISES, INC., THIRD-PARTY DEFENDANT.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Mary L. Cooper, United States District Judge

MEMORANDUM OPINION

The plaintiff, Windsor Mount Joy Mutual Insurance Company ("WMJ"), brought this action for a judgment declaring that it need not afford coverage under a policy it issued to the defendant, power-boat owner Kevin Johnson. It invoked the Court's admiralty jurisdiction under 28 U.S.C. § ("Section") 1333 and Federal Rule of Civil Procedure ("Rule") 9(h). Johnson answered, asserted a counterclaim, and demanded a jury trial. WMJ moves to strike Johnson's jury-trial demand because admiralty actions are subject generally to nonjury trials. Johnson cross-moves for leave to amend his pleadings to "updat[e] a few allegations to reflect what has been revealed in discovery" (Br. in Supp. of Cr. Mot. ("Johnson Br.") at 3-4) and invoke the Court's jurisdiction under Section 1332, which affords a jury trial. The Court will (1) grant WMJ's motion, (2) grant the part of Johnson's cross motion seeking to update certain allegations, and (3) deny the part of the cross motion seeking to invoke jurisdiction under Section 1332 as moot.

BACKGROUND: RELEVANT RULES, STATUTES, and CASE LAW; FACTS; PROCEDURAL HISTORY; and, MOTION PRACTICE

I. Relevant Rules, Statutes, and Case Law

A. Rules 9(h) & 38(e)

Rules 9(h) and 38(e) concern admiralty causes of action. Rule 9(h) states in relevant part:

A pleading or count setting forth a claim for relief within the admiralty and maritime jurisdiction that is also within the jurisdiction of the district court on some other ground may contain a statement identifying the claim as an admiralty or maritime claim for the purposes of Rule . . . 38(e).
Rule 38(e) states that the Rules "shall not be construed to create a right to trial by jury of the issues in an admiralty or maritime claim within the meaning of Rule 9(h)."

B. Section 1332(a)(1)

Section 1332(a)(1) states:

The district courts shall have original jurisdiction of all civil actions where the matter in controversy exceeds the sum or value of $75,000, exclusive of interest and costs, and is between . . . citizens of different States.
C. Section 1333(1)

Section 1333(1) states that federal district courts have original jurisdiction of "[a]ny civil case of admiralty or maritime jurisdiction, saving to suitors in all cases all other remedies to which they are otherwise entitled."

D. Case Law

A party may invoke the Court's admiralty jurisdiction — as WMJ does here — when (1) an insurance policy at issue is maritime in nature, (2) the policy covers damage to and theft of a pleasure boat, and (3) the boat is ashore when the alleged damage or theft occurs. Sirius Ins. Co. v. Collins, 16 F.3d 34, 37-38 (2d Cir. 1994) (applying admiralty jurisdiction to boat theft occurring ashore); N. Am. Spec. Ins. Co. v. Bader, 58 F. Supp.2d 493, 497 (D.N.J. 1999) (applying admiralty jurisdiction to pleasure craft); Com. Union Ins. Co. v. Used Boat Haven, No. 94-0448, 1996 WL 191960, at *2 (S.D.N.Y. Apr. 22, 1996) (denying motion to dismiss for lack of jurisdiction in subrogation action against marina where ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.