Black & Veatch Corp. v. Aspen Ins. (Uk) Ltd., No. 12-2350-SAC

CourtUnited States District Courts. 10th Circuit. United States District Courts. 10th Circuit. District of Kansas
Writing for the CourtSam A. Crow, U.S. District Senior Judge
PartiesBLACK & VEATCH CORPORATION, Plaintiff, v. ASPEN INSURANCE (UK) LTD., et al., Defendants.
Docket NumberNo. 12-2350-SAC
Decision Date17 November 2016

ASPEN INSURANCE (UK) LTD., et al., Defendants.

No. 12-2350-SAC


November 17, 2016


The case comes before the court on four pending motions for partial summary judgment, two by the plaintiff Black & Veatch Corporation ("B&V"), (Dk. 283) and (Dk. 298), and two by the defendants, Aspen Insurance (UK) Ltd. ("Aspen") and Lloyd's Syndicate 2003 ("Lloyd's") (collectively as "defendants" or "liability insurers"), which are a motion for partial summary judgment on the coverage issues (Dk. 296) and a motion for partial summary judgment on the attachment and quantum issues (Dk. 309). B&V has filed a motion for leave to file a sur-reply (Dk. 318) in response to the defendants' motion for partial summary. To say that the motions have been thoroughly briefed would be an understatement. They span hundreds of pages with boxes of exhibits. Nonetheless, the court has reviewed all matters submitted and arguments presented, including B&V's requested sur-reply (Dk. 318) and the defendants' response (Dk. 319). And though all arguments and authorities have been considered and weighed at

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some expense in time and effort, this order will address only those which are directly relevant to the immediate disposition here.

The case involves a relatively straightforward factual setting. The plaintiff B&V is a global engineering, consulting, and construction company. It is suing its first layer excess umbrella liability insurer for claimed coverage under a manuscript commercial general liability ("CGL") policy for its liability for damages to internal components of seven Jet Bubble Reactors (JBRs) which B&V engineered, procured and constructed as wet flue gas desulfurization systems for coal-fired boilers. The litigation of this case has been contentious and extensive. The parties dispute numerous terms of the manuscript policy and offer widely varying interpretations of these terms. Thus, the issues are numerous and complex. Simply put, the parties' summary judgment filings ask the court to interpret and apply the manuscript policy's different terms in deciding claims amounting to millions of dollars.

Procedural Matters

"Summary judgment is appropriate only if 'the movant shows that there is no genuine issue as to any material fact and the movant is entitled to judgment as a matter of law.'" Tolan v. Cotton, --- U.S. ----, 134 S.Ct. 1861, 1866, 188 L.Ed.2d 895 (2014)(quoting Fed. R. Civ. P. 56(a)). A factual dispute is "material" only if it "might affect the outcome of the suit under the governing law." Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, 477 U.S. 242,

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248 (1986). A "genuine" factual dispute requires more than a mere scintilla of evidence in support of a party's position. Id. at 252.

The moving party has the initial burden of showing "the absence of a genuine issue of material fact," and, if carried, the non-moving party then "must bring forward specific facts showing a genuine issue for trial as to those dispositive matters for which [it] carries the burden of proof." National American Ins. Co. v. American Re-Insurance Co., 358 F.3d 736, 739 (10th Cir. 2004) (internal quotation marks and citation omitted). At the summary judgment stage, the court is not to be weighing evidence, crediting some over other, or determining the truth of disputed matters, but only deciding if a genuine issue for trial exists. Tolan, 134 S. Ct. at 1866. The court performs this task with a view of the evidence that favors most the party opposing summary judgment. Id. Summary judgment may be granted if the nonmoving party's evidence is merely colorable or is not significantly probative. Liberty Lobby, 477 U.S. at 250-51. Essentially, the inquiry is "whether the evidence presents a sufficient disagreement to require submission to the jury or whether it is so one-sided that one party must prevail as a matter of law." Id. at 251-52.

A procedural matter deserves some attention. The court's time spent on these summary judgment proceedings was unnecessarily extended by the parties' failure to comply with the letter and the spirit of the district's rules governing summary judgment filings. Specifically, D. Kan. Rule 56.1(a)

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and (b) require memoranda filed in summary judgment proceedings to begin with a section that contains a "concise statements of material facts." Unfortunately, what the parties submitted here was neither concise nor just statements of material fact. Instead, the parties argued extensively and repeatedly over what conclusions and inferences should be properly drawn from these facts. The court will not extend this order with the all too many instances of these violations other than to say that both sides were guilty.

Nonetheless, because of the egregious nature of the violations in this case, the court will set out the relevant portions of the governing rule below, make a few general comments, and then summarily enforce these plain provisions without further discussion later:

(a) Supporting Memorandum. The memorandum or brief in support of a motion for summary judgment must begin with a section that contains a concise statement of material facts as to which the movant contends no genuine issue exists. The facts must be numbered and must refer with particularity to those portions of the record upon which movant relies. All material facts set forth in the statement of the movant will be deemed admitted for purpose of the summary judgment unless specifically controverted by the statement of the opposing party.
(b) Opposing Memorandum.
(1) A memorandum in opposition to a motion for summary judgment must begin with a section containing a concise statement of material facts as to which the party contends a genuine issue exists. Each fact in dispute must by numbered by paragraph, refer with particularity to those portions of the record upon which the opposing party relies, and, if applicable, state the number of movant's fact that is disputed.
(2) If the party opposing summary judgment relies on any facts not contained in the movant's memorandum, that party must set forth each additional fact in a separately numbered paragraph, supported by references to the record, in the manner required by section (a), above. All material facts set forth in this statement of the non-moving party

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will be deemed admitted for the purpose of summary judgment unless specifically controverted by the reply of the moving party.
(c) Reply Memorandum. In a reply brief, the moving party must respond to the non-moving party's statement of additional material facts in the manner prescribed in subsection (b)(1).
(d) Presentation of Factual Material. All facts on which a motion or opposition is based must be presented by affidavit, declaration under penalty of perjury, and/or relevant portions of pleadings, depositions, answers to interrogatories, and responses to requests for interrogatories. . . .
(e) Duty to Fairly Meet the Substance of the Matter Asserted. If the responding party cannot truthfully admit or deny the factual matter asserted, the response must specifically set forth in detail the reasons why. All responses must fairly meet the substance of the matter asserted.

D. Kan. Rule 56.1.1

This rule speaks to "material facts." A party who seeks to controvert a statement of material fact must do so specifically by disputing the asserted fact and then by citing those particular portions of the record on which it relies. A party also has the option of seeking relief under paragraph (e). In addressing only facts and the controverting of them, the rule does not invite a party to expand this section of its memorandum into arguing contentions or issues associated with a fact or arguing inferences to be drawn from a fact. Such a practice undermines one of the rule's promoted purposes of having a "concise" statement of facts and leads to memoranda longer than necessary due to redundant and repetitive presentations in the first instance and in refutation. It cannot be overstated that arguments and

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inferences are topics reserved for the parties' arguments and authorities sections of summary judgment memoranda. See Leathers v. Leathers, 2012 WL 5936281 at *2 (D. Kan. Nov. 27, 2012); cf. Mitchael v. Intracorp, Inc., 179 F.3d 847, 856 (10th Cir. 1999) (Affirmed district court striking a party's responsive documents on five different grounds, with one of those grounds being, "intermixed their responses and their own statements of 'facts' with legal arguments and asserted inferences to be drawn from the facts."). Finally, paragraph (e) imposes a "duty" to submit responses that "must fairly meet the substance of the matter asserted." The court reads this as saying that a party should not be disputing a fact because it disagrees with the relevance and force of the legal argument for which the fact may be offered. The fact is the substance of the matter asserted, not what a party could argue or infer from it. The court will enforce these rules and treat any properly supported statements of fact as undisputed for purposes of the motions unless the statement of fact is properly addressed and disputed on substantive grounds. See Kirch v. Embarq Management Co., 702 F.3d 1245, 1250 (10th Cir. 2012), cert. denied, 133 S. Ct. 2743 (2013).

Factual Background

This background comes from the parties' stipulations in the pretrial order ("PTO") and from some of the general uncontroverted facts stated in the parties' summary judgment pleadings. As for the other facts,

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uncontroverted or not, that are relevant to this order, the court will address those specific statements when pertinent to its analysis.

American Electric Power ("AEP"), on its own behalf and as an agent for the power company owners ("Owners"), entered a series of agreements with B&V for it "to engineer, procure and construct ["EPC"] wet flue gas desulfurization systems (aka, jet bubbling reactors ("JBRs"))...

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