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ACE AMERICAN INSURANCE COMPANY v. WILLARD et al complaint

ACE AMERICAN INSURANCE COMPANY v. WILLARD et al complaint

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Published by: ACELitigationWatch on Feb 11, 2014
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02/11/2014

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UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT FOR THE DISTRICT OF MAINE
ACE American Insurance Company, ) ) Plaintiff, ) ) v. ) Civil Action No.: ) Eugene O. Willard; Carolyn Willard; ) Christopher S. Pizey and Sally Handy; )  ___________________________________________
COMPLAINT FOR DECLARATORY JUDGMENT
 Now comes Plaintiff ACE AMERICAN INSURANCE COMPANY (hereinafter “ACE”),  pursuant to Rule 57 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure and 28 U.S.C. §2201, and submits the following Complaint for Declaratory Judgment, alleging as follows:
PARTIES
1.
 
Plaintiff ACE is an insurance company organized and existing under the laws of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, with its principal place of business in 436 Walnut Street, P.O. Box 1000, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 19106-3703. 2.
 
Defendant Eugene O. Willard is, upon information and belief, a resident located at 67 Colchester Drive, S. Portland, Maine 04106. 3.
 
Defendant Carolyn Willard is, upon information and belief, a resident located at 67 Colchester Drive, S. Portland, Maine 04106. Eugene and Carolyn Willards shall hereinafter  be collectively referred to as “Willard” or “defendant”. 4.
 
Defendant Christopher S. Pizey is, upon information and belief, a resident located at 7 Veteran Street, Peaks Island, Maine 04108-1451.
Case 2:14-cv-00045-GZS Document 1 Filed 02/04/14 Page 1 of 11 PageID #: 1
 
 
2
5.
 
Defendant Sally Handy is, upon information and belief, is a resident of the State of Colorado, located at 930 Lincoln, Boulder, Colorado 80302.
JURISDICTION AND VENUE
6.
 
This court has jurisdiction of the subject matter of this action pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §1332 in that the amount in controversy exceeds $75,000.00, exclusive of interest and costs, and is between citizens of different states. 7.
 
This court also has jurisdiction pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §1333 in that this dispute arises from the interpretation of a certain marine insurance policy which necessarily invokes admiralty and maritime jurisdiction. 8.
 
Venue is proper in the United States District Court for the District of Maine in that the events giving rise to this action occurred on Casco Bay in Cumberland County, Maine, and at least one of the defendants is located in the waters off Cumberland County, Maine. 9.
 
An actual case in controversy of a justifiable nature exists between the parties involving the rights and liabilities under a certain marine insurance policy, in which litigation is imminent and inevitable, and which controversy may be determined by a judgment of this, without other, action.
GENERAL ALLEGATIONS ABOUT THE COLLISION
10.
 
Capt. Eugene Willard works as a caption for the Casco Bay Island Transit District. He also runs a side business called “Portland Water Taxi”, which involves picking up and dropping off individuals and their baggage in and around the various small islands in Casco Bay. Willard owns and operates three (3) motor boats, called “Portland Express,” “The Water Taxi” and “Bay Express.” The “Bay Express” is the 24’ 2004 Osprey Expedition, H.I.N. OFO24X51G305 and will hereinafter be referred to as “the Vessel”.
Case 2:14-cv-00045-GZS Document 1 Filed 02/04/14 Page 2 of 11 PageID #: 2
 
 
3
11.
 
On September 7, 2013, Willard received a booking to pick up a group of individuals from Chebeague Island to Portland, Maine, a roughly four and a half mile trip. This group included Congresswoman Chellie Pingree, a member of the United States Congress House of Representatives for the State of Maine, and certain members of her staff. 12.
 
Willard’s two regular boats, “Portland Express” and “The Water Taxi”, were either unavailable due to repairs or deemed unsuitable for this type of trip so Willard elected to use the Vessel to perform this particular job. 13.
 
Willard was unable to perform the trip himself so he asked his friend and colleague, Kyle Jacobs to perform the job. 14.
 
While navigating back to Portland harbor, the Vessel collided head-on with another vessel, named the “Miss M”. The U.S. Coast Guard has yet to issue its report on the incident, but ACE has been advised that Willard and the Vessel have meritorious defenses, including but not limited to: (a) the “Miss M” did not have its running lights turned on; (b) a Portland Fire Department report which identified the operator, Mr. Christopher S. Pizey as being “intoxicated” and (c) the “Miss M” was in violation of the Nautical Rules of the Road, i.e. Mr. Pizey was driving his vessel in the wrong direction for the area in which the collision occurred. 15.
 
Defendants Christopher S. Pizey and Sally Handy have filed claims for personal injuries and damages against Willard and Willard’s company, Portland Water Taxi. No one associated with the Pingree party has filed any claim for injuries or damages arising from the September 7, 2013 collision, as of the date of the within complaint.
GENERAL ALLEGATIONS ABOUT WILLARD’S INSURANCE POLICIES
16.
 
From July 28, 2013 until the date of the within rescission, ACE provided marine insurance coverage to Willard under a Yachtsman Policy of Insurance, Policy Number YKR Y
Case 2:14-cv-00045-GZS Document 1 Filed 02/04/14 Page 3 of 11 PageID #: 3

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