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Diocese of St. Cloud v. Arrowood Indemnity Co.
United States District Court, D. Minnesota
January 4, 2018
DIOCESE OF ST. CLOUD; CHURCH OF SAINT JOSEPH, ST. JOSEPH; CHURCH OF THE SACRED HEART OF JESUS, DENT; CHURCH OF SAINT ANTHONY OF PADUA, ST. CLOUD; CHURCH OF OUR LADY OF VICTORY, FERGUS FALLS; CHURCH OF SAINT ANNE, KIMBALL; CHURCH OF SAINT JAMES, RANDALL; CHURCH OF SAINT LOUIS BERTRAND, FORESTON; CHURCH OF SAINT BONIFACE, COLD SPRING; CHURCH OF THE ASSUMPTION, EDEN VALLEY; CHURCH OF SEVEN DOLORS, ALBANY; CHURCH OF SAINT MARY OF THE PRESENTATION, BRECKENRIDGE; CHURCH OF THE HOLY CROSS, ONAMIA; CHURCH OF SAINT GALL, TINTAH; CHURCH OF SAINT OLAF, ELBOW LAKE; CHURCH OF THE IMMACULATE CONCEPTION, OSAKIS; CHURCH OF SAINT PETER, DUMONT; CHURCH OF AVE MARIA, WHEATON; CHURCH OF THE HOLY SPIRIT, ST. CLOUD; CHURCH OF THE HOLY ANGELS OF ST. CLOUD, ST. CLOUD f/k/a Holy Angels Congregation of St. Cloud, St. Cloud; CHURCH OF SAINT HEDWIG, HOLDINGFORD f/k/a Church of All Saints, Holdingford; CHURCH OF IMMACULATE CONCEPTION, NEW MUNICH; CHURCH OF SAINT PAUL, SAUK CENTRE; CHURCH OF SAINT JOSEPH, CLARISSA; CHURCH OF THE SACRED HEART, STAPLES; CHURCH OF SAINT STANISLAUS, SOBIESKI; CHURCH OF SAINT PETER, ST. CLOUD; CHURCH OF SAINT ANDREW, ELK RIVER; CHURCH OF SAINT EDWARD, BOWLUS; CHURCH OF SAINT PAUL, ST. CLOUD; and CHURCH OF ST. MARY'S CATHEDRAL OF ST. CLOUD, ST. CLOUD f/k/a Church of the Immaculate Conception, St. Cloud, Plaintiffs,
ARROWOOD INDEMNITY COMPANY, individually and as successor to Royal Indemnity Company, Connecticut Indemnity Company, The Fire & Casualty Insurance Company, Security Insurance Company of Hartford, Connecticut Specialty Insurance Company, New Amsterdam Casualty Company, and Orion Capital Companies; THE ORDER OF ST. BENEDICT, d/b/a St. John's Abbey; THE CONTINENTAL INSURANCE COMPANY; ST. PAUL FIRE AND MARINE INSURANCE COMPANY; TRAVELERS INDEMNITY COMPANY; CHURCH MUTUAL INSURANCE COMPANY; and HARTFORD ACCIDENT AND INDEMNITY COMPANY, Defendants.
CHURCH MUTUAL INSURANCE COMPANY, Counterclaim Plaintiff,
CHURCH OF THE SACRED HEART OF JESUS, DENT, Counterclaim Defendant.
H. Faricy, Jr., and Vadim Trifel, for plaintiffs.
S. Carter, Jr., for defendant The Order of St. Benedict.
E. Turner, and Troy A. Poetz, for defendant The Continental
D. Meyer, for defendant Travelers Indemnity Corporation.
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
R. TUNHEIM CHIEF JUDGE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
the Diocese of St. Cloud (“the Diocese”) and
various Catholic parishes located in central Minnesota
(collectively, “Plaintiffs”) bring this insurance
coverage action in order to determine which parties will pay
compensation to victims of clerical abuse that have filed
claims in state court. Plaintiffs have brought this action
against their own alleged insurers, Arrowood Indemnity
Company (“Arrowood”), Church Mutual Insurance
Company (“Church Mutual”), St. Paul Fire and
Marine Insurance Company (“St. Paul”), and
Hartford Accident and Indemnity Company
(“Hartford”). They have also brought this action
against a fellow Catholic religious organization, The Order
of St. Benedict, doing business as St. John's Abbey
(“the Abbey”), and its alleged insurers, The
Continental Insurance Company (“Continental”) and
Travelers Indemnity Company (“Travelers”).
their own insurers, Plaintiffs seek declaratory relief
regarding duty to defend, duty to pay investigation and
defense costs, and duty to indemnify. Against Arrowood,
Plaintiffs seek damages for breach of contract, promissory
estoppel, bad faith/breach of fiduciary duty, fraudulent
misrepresentation, and tortious interference with contractual
relations. Against the Abbey and its insurers, Plaintiffs
seek only declaratory relief with regard to the pending state
court liability claims.
are four motions currently before the Court: (1)
Continental's Motion to Dismiss; (2) Travelers'
Motion for Joinder of Continental's Motion to Dismiss;
(3) the Abbey's Motion to Dismiss; and (4)
Plaintiffs' Motion to Remand to State Court. Because the
Court will find that Plaintiffs' claims against the Abbey
and its insurers are not ripe, the Court will grant
Continental's Motion to Dismiss, Travelers's Motion
for Joinder, and the Abbey's Motion to Dismiss. Upon
dismissal of these parties, complete diversity will exist
between the remaining parties. Thus, the Court will deny
Plaintiffs' Motion to Remand to State Court.
Diocese is a Catholic Diocese corporation in St. Cloud,
Minnesota. (Notice of Removal ¶ 1, Ex. 1
(“Compl.”) ¶ 4, June 12, 2017, Docket No.
1.) The remaining Plaintiffs are “separate and
independent Catholic parish corporations” located in
Minnesota. (Compl. ¶¶ 5-7.) The Diocese is
organized and operates under Minn. Stat. § 315.16; the
remaining Plaintiffs are organized and operate under Minn.
Stat. § 315.15. (Id. ¶¶ 4, 7.)
2013, the Minnesota Legislature enacted the Minnesota Child
Victims Act, Minn. Stat. § 541.073, which allowed
individuals to file sexual abuse claims that had been
previously time-barred. (Id. ¶ 2.) More than 75
actions have been filed naming the Diocese as a Defendant,
and the other Plaintiffs in this case have each been named in
one or more actions. (Id. ¶ 3.) The actions
involve some combination of public nuisance, private
nuisance, negligence, negligent supervision, and negligent
retention. (Id.) Plaintiffs refer to these actions
generally as “the Claims.” (Id.)
regard to Plaintiffs' own insurers, Arrowood is a
Delaware corporation with its principal place of business in
North Carolina. (Id. ¶ 9.) According to
Plaintiffs, Arrowood is the successor to numerous insurance
companies. (See id.) Plaintiffs allege that Arrowood
or its predecessors issued numerous insurance policies to
various Plaintiff parishes between 1955 and 1967 and insured
the Diocese at least from April 1964 to December 1, 1971.
(Id. ¶¶ 18-19, 21-28.) Church Mutual is
incorporated and has its principal place of business in
Wisconsin. (Id. ¶ 12.) It allegedly insured
Plaintiff Church of the Sacred Heart from January 1967 to
January 1970. (Id. ¶ 30.) St. Paul is
incorporated and has its principal place of business in
Connecticut. (Id. ¶ 10.) It allegedly insured
Plaintiff Church of St. Andrew around 1960. (Id.
¶ 31.) Hartford is incorporated and has its principal
place of business in Connecticut. (Id. ¶ 11.)
It allegedly insured Plaintiff Church of Saint Olaf from
around 1964 to 1966 and Plaintiff Church of Saint Paul from
around 1960 to 1963. (Id. ¶¶ 32-33.)
Abbey is a Catholic religious organization in Collegeville,
Minnesota, organized as a Minnesota church corporation under
Minn. Stat. § 315.16. (Id. ¶ 8.) Plaintiff
alleges that, by papal decree, several parishes in the
Diocese “were staffed by priests and other staff chosen
by and interacting with [the Diocese] and [the Abbey].”
(Id. ¶ 37.) The priests' and staff's
interaction with both organizations “has resulted in
actions claiming responsibility for clerical abuse by both
[the Diocese] and [the Abbey].” (Id.) The
Diocese and the Abbey “maintained separate insurance
programs to protect both themselves and the public.”
(Id. ¶ 38.) Plaintiffs allege the following
with regard to the Abbey:
an actual controversy exists between and among [the Abbey]
and the Plaintiffs concerning their respective rights and
obligations of themselves and certain of their insurers as to
the payment of liabilities jointly or separately incurred or
to be incurred by the Plaintiffs ...