J.A. Brundage Plumbing and Roto-Rooter, Inc. v. Massachusetts Bay Insurance Co.

818 F. Supp. 553 (1993)

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J.A. Brundage Plumbing and Roto-Rooter, Inc. v. Massachusetts Bay Insurance Co.

United States District Court for the Western District of New York
818 F. Supp. 553 (1993)

Facts

John Brundage and his companies, J.A. Brundage Plumbing and Roto-Rooter, Inc., were all sued by Roto-Rooter Corp. in a matter involving a noncompete agreement. Roto-Rooter Corp. had given Brundage a license and franchise as part of an agreement in which Brundage also pledged not to compete with the Roto-Rooter Corp. trademarks or service marks by entering into a sewer, drain, or pipe-cleaning business in the territory where the franchise agreement was operational. Brundage notified his insurance carrier, Massachusetts Bay Insurance Co. (Massachusetts Bay) (defendant), of the suit, and Massachusetts Bay denied coverage because the suit did not fall within the personal-injury coverage or advertising-injury coverage Massachusetts Bay provided. Brundage then filed suit on his behalf and on behalf of J.A. Brundage Plumbing and Roto-Rooter, Inc. (Brundage) (plaintiffs). By the time this matter came before the court, the matter had been settled, and the only remaining issue was the payment of attorney’s fees. Massachusetts Bay moved for summary judgment on the issue of whether Massachusetts Bay had a duty to defend (and thus was obligated to pay attorney’s fees). Brundage counter-moved for summary judgment on the same issue. The definition of advertising injury used in the policy was unclear and an ambiguous term.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Heckman, J.)

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