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Paternostro v. Choice Hotel Int'l Servs. Corp.

United States District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana

November 14, 2014, Decided; November 17, 2014, Filed

CIVIL ACTION NO. 13-0662 SECTION "L" (5)

Opinion

ORDER & REASONS

Before the Court are twenty preliminary, dispositive motions from Defendants and Cross-Defendants. (Rec. Docs. 148, 192, 193, 216, 251, 254, 255, 257, 259, 260, 261, 263, 264, 265, 268, 269, 270, 272, 287, 305). Having considered the parties' memoranda and the applicable law, the Court now issues this Order and Reasons.

I. BACKGROUND

A. Procedural Background

This action arises out of the alleged presence of Legionella and [*39]  Pseudomonas aeruginosa (that is, the causative agent of Legionnaires' disease) at the Clarion Inn and Suites Hotel ("the Hotel") in Covington, Louisiana. Plaintiffs allege that Defendant Choice Hotels International ("Choice") was the franchisor of the Hotel, and Defendant Century Wilshire ("CWI")1 was the franchisee, owner, and operator of the Hotel. Initially, several Plaintiffs brought this action in state court, both as individuals and as surviving heirs, alleging that on December 4, 2012, decedent Russell Paternostro was exposed to Legionella while attending a Rotary Club meeting at the Clarion Inn and Suites Conference Center ("Clarion"). CWI removed to this Court on the basis of diversity jurisdiction. Thereafter, this Court consolidated the case with several other related cases that made similar factual allegations. Plaintiffs then filed an amended complaint against the original Defendants and various insurers, incorporating therein class allegations, (Rec. Doc. 94). Defendants filed amended answers (Rec. Docs. 95, 98, 110, 140, 165, 177, 179, 200). Choice also filed cross claims against CWI and various insurers. (Rec. Docs. 182, 183, 185, 331). CWI filed a cross claim of its [*40]  own against an insurer. (Rec. Doc. 293). Several insurers filed cross claims of their own. (Rec. Doc. 208, 291, 292).

The claims against the hotel manager have already been dismissed. (Rec. Doc. 203). Discovery commenced, primarily focused on jurisdictional and coverage issues, in order to afford the parties and the Court an opportunity to deal with the threshold issues, prior to exploring class certification and the more substantive aspects of this case, such as causation and liability.2 There are twenty pending preliminary, dispositive motions, which were considered at oral argument on October 22, 2014.3 To put these motions in perspective, a review of the factual background and insurance scenarios is helpful.

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2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 161157 *; 2014 WL 6460844

ANGELA PATERNOSTRO, ET AL. VERSUS CHOICE HOTEL INTERNATIONAL SERVICES CORP., D/B/A/ CLARION INN AND SUITES, ET AL.

Subsequent History: Reconsideration denied by, Motion denied by Paternostro v. Choice Hotel Int'l Servs. Corp., 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 14171 (E.D. La., Feb. 4, 2015)

Motion granted by, Summary judgment denied by, in part, Summary judgment granted by, in part Paternostro v. Choice Hotel Int'l Servs. Corp., 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 72483 (E.D. La., June 3, 2015)

Motion granted by, in part, Motion denied by, in part Paternostro v. Choice Hotel Int'l Servs. Corp., 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 101126 (E.D. La., Aug. 3, 2015)

Motion to strike granted by Paternostro v. Choice Hotel Int'l Servs. Corp., 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 113828 (E.D. La., Aug. 27, 2015)

CORE TERMS

bacteria, coverage, policies, insurer, parties, argues, follow-form, aeruginosa, pollutant, duty to defend, Hotel, motion to dismiss, motions, allegations, communicable disease, excess policy, policy period, provide coverage, excess insurer, bodily injury, cross claim, exclude coverage, unambiguously, prescription, ambiguous, hot tub, exhaustion, consumption, underlying insurance, pollution exclusion