LDM Summary Judgment Motion on One Case Prompts Voluntary Dismissals with Prejudice in Two Cases

LDM partners Cathy S. Trent-Vilim and Daniel P. Chesire recently obtained a victory for their client – without conducting any discovery in the case and short of obtaining a ruling from the court on the client’s pending motion for summary judgment.  The case involved a claim brought by an injured party, individually and as personal representative of the spouse’s estate, related to injuries from a fire. The accidental fire killed one spouse and caused burn injuries to the other.  The suit was filed against the insurer of the property owner who owned the building where the fire occurred. Based on the allegations in the pleading, LDM attorneys filed a motion for summary judgment, in lieu of an answer, and a motion to stay discovery pending the outcome of the motion. The summary judgment motion was premised on issues related to standing, liability and coverage.  LDM argued that even assuming the facts in the complaint to be true, the insurer was still entitled to judgment as a matter of law.  In response, the plaintiff moved to amend the complaint. After the hearing on the motions, the plaintiff opted to voluntarily dismiss the suit with prejudice. She also voluntarily dismissed a companion case that had been brought against the insurance agent who had sold the policy.  There, service had been perfected but no answer had been filed and no discovery had yet taken place.