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Pennsylvania National Mutual Casualty Insurance Company v. JJA Construction, Inc.

United States District Court, W.D. North Carolina, Charlotte Division

May 22, 2019

PENNSYLVANIA NATIONAL MUTUAL CASUALTY INSURANCE COMPANY, Plaintiffs,
v.
JJA CONSTRUCTION, INC. JOSE CASTILLO JJA FRAMING COMPANY, Defendants.

          ORDER

          GRAHAM C. MULLEN UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.

         This matter is before the court on the Plaintiff's Motion for Default Judgment [D.E. 13] and the memorandum filed in support of the Motion for Default Judgment [D.E. 13-1]. For the reasons discussed below, Plaintiff's motion is GRANTED.

         I. FACTUAL BACKGROUND

         Plaintiff Pennsylvania National Mutual Casualty Insurance Company (“Plaintiff Penn National”) initiated this declaratory judgment action against Defendants Jose Castillo d/b/a JJA Framing Company, JJA Construction, Inc., and JJA Framing Company (collectively, the “JJA Defendants”), on May 18, 2018. Plaintiff Penn National seeks a declaratory judgment that certain policies of insurance issued by Plaintiff Penn National to the JJA Defendants do not provide coverage to the JJA Defendants for the claims asserted against the JJA Defendants in two related underlying construction defect actions captioned “Summer Wood Property Owners Ass'n, Inc. v. Portrait Homes-South Carolina, LLC, et al., ” (C.A. No. 2015-CP-10-00100) and “Mary Young, et al. v. Portrait Homes-South Carolina, LLC, et al., ” (C.A. No. 2015-CP-10- 02432), pending in the Court of Common Pleas for the County of Charleston, South Carolina (collectively, the “Underlying Construction Defect Litigation”). This case is brought pursuant to the Federal Declaratory Judgment Act, 28 U.S.C. §2201, et seq. and Rule 57 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. The record shows that Plaintiff Penn National served JJA Defendants with process pursuant to Rule 4 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure on June 1, 2018. [D.E. 7, 8, and 9]. The JJA Defendants did not file a responsive pleading to the Complaint, and the Clerk of Court entered an entry of default against the JJA Defendants on August 7, 2018. [D.E. 11]. The Entry of Default was served on the JJA Defendants by U.S. Mail on August 7, 2018. [D.E. 12].

         Plaintiff Penn National now moves for Default Judgment as against the JJA Defendants. This Motion for Default Judgment was filed on August 30, 2018, and also served on the JJA Defendants by U.S. Mail. The JJA Defendants have not appeared or defended this action in any way.

         II. DISCUSSION

         Upon default, the well-pleaded facts alleged in the Complaint are deemed admitted. See th Ryan v. Homecomings Fin. Network, 253 F.3d 778, 780 (4 Cir. 2001). Based upon Plaintiff Penn National's Complaint, the following facts are established.

         The JJA Defendants were sued in two related construction defect civil actions captioned “Summer Wood Property Owners Ass'n, Inc. v. Portrait Homes-South Carolina, LLC, et al., ” Civil Action No. 2015-CP-10-00100 (the “Underlying POA Construction Defect Action”) and “Mary Young, et al. v. Portrait Homes-South Carolina, LLC, et al., ” Civil Action No. 2015-CP-10-02432 (the “Underlying Construction Defect Class Action”) filed in the Court of Common Pleas for Charleston County, SC.[1] It is alleged in the Underlying Construction Defect Litigation that the JJA Defendants performed defective work on a townhome project located in Charleston, South Carolina, known as Summer Wood.

         On March 4, 2015, the JJA Defendants were personally served with a copy of the Summons and Complaint in the Underlying POA Construction Defect Action. The JJA Defendants were also personally served with a copy of the Summons and Complaint in the Underlying Construction Defect Class Action on May 12, 2015. Pursuant to the Scheduling Orders entered by the Court in the Underlying Construction Defect Litigation, the deadline for all discovery to be completed was September 25, 2017.

         Plaintiff Penn National issued the following commercial general liability policies to the JJA Defendants:

a. Commercial General Liability Policy No. GL9 0601617 issued to “Jose Castillo d/b/a JJA Framing Company” at 3000 Colvard Parkway, Charlotte, NC 28269, effective from December 5, 2002 to March 2, 2005.
b. Commercial General Liability Policy No. GL9 0601617 issued to “JJA Construction, Inc.” at 11227 East Field Road, Hendersonville, NC 28078, effective from March 2, 2005 to December 5, 2006.
c. Commercial General Liability Policy No. GL9 0601617 issued to “JJA Construction, Inc.” at 9496 Highway 778 Lot 2, Ladson, SC 29456, effective from December 5, 2006 to December 5, 2008.
d. Commercial General Liability Policy No. GL9 0649575 issued to “JJA Framing Company” at 9496 Highway 78 Lot 2, Ladson, SC 29456, effective July 9, 2008 to August 15, 2008.
e. Commercial General Liability Policy No. GL9 0649575 issued to “JJA Construction, Inc.” at 9496 Highway 778 Lot 2, Ladson, SC 29456, effective from August 15, 2008 to ...

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