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Ricchio v. Bijal, Inc.

United States District Court for the District of Massachusetts

November 22, 2019, Decided; November 22, 2019, Filed

Civil Action No. 15-13519-FDS

Opinion

 [*185]  MEMORANDUM AND ORDER ON MOTION OF INTERVENOR-PLAINTIFF PEERLESS INDEMNITY INSURANCE CO. FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT

SAYLOR, J.

This is a dispute concerning the existence of insurance coverage. Intervenor-plaintiff Peerless Indemnity Insurance Company seeks a declaration that it has no duty to defend or indemnify defendants Bijal, Inc., d/b/a the Shangri-La Motel; Ashvinkumar (Ashvin) Patel; and Sima Patel as to claims brought by Lisa Ricchio under the Victims of Trafficking and Violence Protection Act of 2000 ("TVPA") [**2]  and the Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act of 2003 ("TVPRA"). Jurisdiction as to the claims of Ricchio is based on federal-question jurisdiction under 28 U.S.C. § 1331, and, as to the insurance-coverage dispute, on supplemental jurisdiction under 28 U.S.C. § 1367.

Peerless has moved for summary judgment. For the following reasons, the motion will be denied.

I. Background

A. Ricchio's Allegations

Plaintiff Lisa Ricchio alleges that she was kidnapped by defendant Clark McLean on June 1, 2011. She alleges that McLean brought her to the Shangri-La Motel in Seekonk, Massachusetts, and held her captive there for a period of several days.

The Shangri-La Motel is owned by defendant Bijal, Inc. Defendants Ashvin and Sima Patel worked and lived at the motel during Ricchio's alleged captivity.

Ricchio contends that she was repeatedly raped and abused by McLean during her captivity, and that McLean made clear to her that he intended to force her to work as a prostitute under his control. She further contends that Bijal and the Patels were aware of the abuse and profited from it.

Ricchio asserts seven claims under the TVPA and TVPRA against McLean, Bijal, and the Patels. Essentially, [**3]  the complaint alleges that McLean performed various trafficking-related acts prohibited by the TVPA, including, among other things, knowingly harboring, transporting, and obtaining Ricchio for labor or services by means of force and abuse. Ricchio also contends that the Patels and Bijal violated the TVPRA by benefitting financially from the acts of McLean performed at the motel in violation of the TVPA—specifically, by receiving rental income for the room.

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424 F. Supp. 3d 182 *; 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 203132 **; 2019 WL 6253275

LISA RICCHIO, Plaintiff, v. BIJAL, INC. d/b/a SHANGRI-LA MOTEL; ASHVINKUMAR PATEL; SIMA PATEL; and CLARK McLEAN, Defendants, and PEERLESS INDEMNITY INSURANCE COMPANY, Intervenor-Plaintiff, v. LISA RICCHIO; BIJAL, INC. d/b/a SHANGRI-LA MOTEL; ASHVINKUMAR PATEL; SIMA PATEL; and CLARK McLEAN, Intervenor-Defendants.

Prior History: Ricchio v. Bijal, Inc., 386 F. Supp. 3d 126, 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 96816 (D. Mass., June 10, 2019)

CORE TERMS

coverage, insured, contends, bodily injury, advertising injury, duty to defend, allegations, trafficking, injuries, venture, umbrella policy, causation, knowingly, declaratory judgment action, insurance policy, property damage, false imprisonment, third party, damages, Motel, criminal act, benefitted, insurance coverage, reckless disregard, insurance applies, insurance company, summary judgment, personal injury, asbestos, sexual