on extended military duty at the time his father had an accident. In contrast to the facts in Vanguard, Jacobs and Island, the evidence here shows that Kenneth Lazio was living at his parents' house on an indefinite, albeit temporary, basis at the time the accident occurred.
Were Lumbermens binding authority on this court, State Farm might have strong support for its position, for the household relations between the two Pulsifer families discussed in Lumbermens were in many ways more intertwined than the relations between Kenneth Lazio and his parents. Obviously though, this court is not bound by a decision from the District Court of Maine. In fact, since this case calls for the court to interpret an insurance contract entered into in California, the court must look to California case law for primary guidance. Aetna Casualty & Surety Company v Sheft, 93 Daily Journal DAR 4032, 4033 (9th Cir Apr 1, 1993).
Relevant California case law suggests that the appropriate definition of household is not so rigid that Kenneth Lazio should not be considered to have been a member of his parents' household. For instance, in Hardware Mutual Casualty Company v Home Indemnity Company, 241 Cal. App. 2d 303, 50 Cal. Rptr. 508 (1966), the Court of Appeal held that "a resident of the same household is one, other than a temporary or transient visitor, who lives together with others in the same house for a period of some duration, although he may not intend to remain there permanently." 50 Cal. Rptr. at 514 . Applying this definition, the court determined that the twenty-two year-old tortfeasor was a resident of his aunt and uncle's household even though prior to the tort he spent only a few days ("two days to two weeks according to the testimony," 50 Cal. Rptr. at 513 ) at their house and simultaneously maintained another apartment which he shared with his cousin.
The court in Dalton v Metropolitan Property & Liability Insurance Company, 136 Cal. App. 3d 1037, 186 Cal. Rptr. 685 (1982), reached the same conclusion where a husband and wife had been married for three weeks and had lived together only in various hotels when the husband absconded with the wife's car, never to be seen again. The Dalton court reasoned that it would undermine the certainty of insurance coverage were the court to attempt to discern the husband's subjective intent at the time of the theft. Thus, the court found that "the spouse's intention to return or not to return to the other spouse [was not] relevant in determining whether husband was a member of wife's household for insurance purposes." 186 Cal. Rptr. at 688 .
This review of the California case law leads the court to conclude that Mr. Lazio was in fact a resident of his parents' household at the time of the accident which caused the death of Ms. Aquilina. Though he had stayed at his parents' for only one night and probably would have stayed on there for only a few weeks, his ties to his parents' household show sufficient indicia of residence. As noted above, for all known official purposes, his address was his parents' address. More importantly, he simply had no other possible residence. He was going to buy a new home for himself, but had not yet done so. He was thinking about living with his girlfriend, but had not decided to do that either. As of June 15, 1991, Kenneth Lazio was for the time being, if not permanently, a resident of his parents' household. Accordingly, the motions for summary judgment filed by Gerald Aquilina and Joan Ross are GRANTED and State Farm's motion is DENIED.
VAUGHN R. WALKER
United States District Judge
[EDITOR'S NOTE: The following court-provided text does not appear at this cite in F. Supp.]
JUDGMENT IN A CIVIL CASE - May 11, 1993, Filed; May 12, 1993, Entered
Decision by Court. This action came to trial or hearing before the Court. The issues have been tried or heard and a decision has been rendered.
IT IS ORDERED AND ADJUDGED that in accordance with this court's Order of May 11, 1993, motions for summary judgment filed by Gerald Aquilina and Joan Ross are granted and State Farm's motion for summary judgment is denied.
May 11, 1993
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