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Hund v. National Union Fire Insurance Company of Pittsburgh, PA

United States District Court, D. Kansas

March 26, 2019

EDWARD J. HUND, Plaintiff,
v.
NATIONAL UNION FIRE INSURANCE COMPANY OF PITTSBURGH, PA, Defendant.

          MEMORANDUM AND ORDER

          ERIC F. MELGREN, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.

         This suit arises out of an insurance coverage dispute between Plaintiff Edward Hund and Defendant National Union Fire Insurance Company of Pittsburgh, PA (“NUFI”). Hund was involved in an emergency plane landing that resulted in the total loss of his airplane and caused additional property damage. Hund sought to recoup his losses from his insurer, NUFI, but the company denied coverage. Hund brought this suit to compel payment, and both parties have filed motions for summary judgment. For the following reasons, Defendant National Union Fire Insurance Company of Pittsburgh, PA's Motion for Summary Judgment (Doc. 23) is granted and Edward J. Hund's Motion for Summary Judgment (Doc. 25) is denied.

         I. Factual and Procedural Background[1]

         On September 22, 2016, Hund and fellow pilot Roger Kidd departed from Augusta Municipal Airport in a two-person airplane owned by Hund. Kidd, who was acting as pilot in command of the flight, piloted the airplane to an airport in El Dorado, Kansas, where both Hund and Kidd performed a “touch-and-go” maneuver. Hund and Kidd then flew to Col. James Jabara Airport (“Jabara”) in Wichita, Kansas. Each pilot performed another “touch-and-go” at Jabara, and afterwards they begin flying back to the Augusta airport to conclude their trip.

         While en route to Augusta, the airplane's engine experienced a loss of power. Kidd-who was piloting the plane at the time-told Hund “your airplane, ” at which point Hund assumed the role of pilot in command and attempted to restart the engine. When Hund's efforts failed, he tried to redirect the plane back to Jabara. After determining the plane would be unable to reach Jabara, Hund attempted to land in a nearby field. During the emergency landing, the airplane collided with a fence, damaging Hund's plane beyond repair and causing approximately $1, 200 in property damage to the fence. Hund and Kidd escaped uninjured.

         Hund's insurance policy with NUFI excluded coverage if the plane was piloted by anyone not covered under the policy's “Pilots Endorsement.” The Pilot's Endorsement imposed the following conditions:

A) While the aircraft is in flight it will be piloted only by the person(s) specifically named as pilot(s) for your aircraft listed below, provided that the pilot-in-command has:
1. a current and valid FAA Pilots Certificate with ratings and endorsement applicable to your aircraft, or is under the direct supervision of a Certified Flight Instructor;
2. if required, a current and valid FAA Medical Certificate;
3. if required, a current and valid Biennial Flight Review;
4. logged or is receiving the dual flight instruction required below and received a written endorsement from a Certified Flight Instructor to solo the same make and model as your aircraft;
5. logged the solo flight(s) in the same make and model as your aircraft prior to carrying passengers. (emphasis omitted).
. . .
B) . . . the aircraft may also be piloted by any person who has your permission and has:
1. a current and valid FAA Private, Commercial, or ATP pilot certificate with rating and endorsements ...

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