Yesterday was the Alaska Senate Resource committee confirmation hearing for Sean Parnell’s Board of Game appointee, Al Barrette.
People from all over the state phoned in, showed up at their local Legislative Information Office or were in Juneau at the Capitol. People testifying against Barrette’s confirmation referenced his documented record opposing rural Alaskans and Native Subsistence priority. Or his clear, obvious and unambiguous conflict of interest-he owns a wolf trap company AND a tannery. Or maybe it’s his fundamental Christian Dominionist leanings and how his basic belief system might impact his ability to manage Fish and Game:
“It specifically puts out in the first book of the bible, in Genesis, that we should subdue nature and control it. We should be the managers of the animals and through the sin of Adam and Eve is what brought it on”
Or Barrette’s deciding vote to eliminate the Denali wolf buffer zone-a move not even extreme predator control advocate Bob Bell would have done. Or his vote to boost the black bear commercial guide limit to 10-at $200 a pelt, Barrette’s interior tanning company stands to make $2,000 per guide limit. Or any number of other specific, documented and damning reasons why he ought to be rejected.
But, not to be out done, the other side testified too. They even had their talking points! Sportsmen for Fish and Wildlife, a radical, extremist, trophy-hunting dominionist OUTSIDE group put together their list of reasons why Al Barrette ought to be confirmed:
1) He listens to everone who has wildlife issues and/or concerns.
2) He is able to research wildlife issues and does so through public input, statutes, regulations, and contacts within the Division of Wildlife Conservation or other independent professionals thoughout Alaska.
3) Interacts with persons who have made proposals to clarify their real issue if it was not made clear in their writings.
4) Helps Alaskans write and get their ideas in the proper form to the Board of Game. Shares how the Board of Game operates and what to expect from the process.
5) Has a passion for wildlife management.
6) Knows many of the concerns of rural Alaskans and the significant importance of wildlife to them.
7) Understands the importance of the customary and traditional aspects of the Alaskan lifestyle.
8) Respects the land and the wildlife, and holds them both in high esteem in his core values.
9) Many Alaskans value his opinion because he puts a lot of energy into researching subjects of interest. Knows how a regulation is written, where to find a regulation, or he has frist hand knowledge of a particular hunt area.
10) He and his family regularly use Alaskan State Parks for family outings. In fact, they spend more of their time observing game, enjoying the Alaskan landscape and all the neat things to see in this state, historical or ortherwise, from the barren lands of the North Slope to the thick rain forests near Valdez.
11) He is a true conservationist.
They could have summed up all 11 talking points in one: Al is a smart, nice family man who studies the issues, respects the land and wildlife, and camps! Nothing about his experience, his education, or anything that documents what he has actually done!
This is what happens when we elect governors who believe the earth is 4,000 years old, man hunted dinosaurs, and fossils are a trick by God to test your faith!
The hearings were not without drama. At the Anchorage LIO, police were called in on an assault charge! Here is part of an email from a witness:
This was a ridiculous waste of Anchorage Police time and was still ongoing and distracting when I testified. The “event” occurred during Aaron Bloomquist’s testimony.
Steve Flory, reelected to the Anchorage Advisory Committee and a convicted sex offender (he sat next to Aaron) had just given his testimony and was leaving the room. He had been mouthing off most of the hearing; rolling his eyes; bitching about a lawyer, Senator Hollis French, asking Barrette ethics questions; and taking great pleasure in cruelly mocking a woman named Yolanda who was sitting a couple of seats away. At one point I reacted to him when he was bitching about Senator French’s grilling of Barrette and said, “God forbid we have smart people asking questions…” Yolanda repeatedly asked him to be quiet because she was trying to listen. Flory called her a “dumb-ass child” among other names.
Yolanda is a wonderful woman I have come to know recently. She is passionate about wildlife issues because her daughter wants to be a wildlife biologist. She attends every Anchorage AC meeting and is occasionally mocked because she fights for the rights of the animals she loves and because of her nationality and accent-especially if no one else is there. She was born in Mexico but is an Alaskan and US citizen. I’m not sure how long she has lived in Alaska-at least a decade, maybe two.
When Flory finished testifying, he walked behind Yolanda and waved his hand right in front of her face and taunted, “BUH-BYE!!!” He might have bumped her chair, but he was definitely in her face. Yolanda told him to leave her alone. Flory called her a “piece of trash” and told her to shut up. As he headed for the door, mouthing off the whole time, he walked behind Marybeth Holleman. Someone said they would call security if Flory didn’t leave. He then got right up in Marybeth’s face and bullied her. She held her hand up to block his face. I think Flory got his ugly mug close enough to her hand and made contact.
He then carried on like an adolescent child, “YOU ASSAULTED ME!!! I’M CALLING THE POLICE! YOU CAN’T TOUCH ME!” Flory stormed into the LIO office and told them to call security and the police. He wanted them to arrest Marybeth for ‘assaulting’ him.
Security came up immediately and 10 minutes later, two Anchorage Police officers came to investigate in two separate patrol cars. The officers interviewed Steve child-molester-bully Flory, Aaron Bloomquist, Yolanda, Marybeth Holleman, Rick Steiner, Dave Turnbull (Shannyn Moore’s producer) and me.
After the officer completed his witness interviews, he told Marybeth he would have punched Flory in the face had he been in her shoes.
Notice how Steve Flory bullied only women? What a pathetic coward. He probably represents most of those individuals on the advisory committees. Who is Steve Flory? Here are his records:
M.C. v. Northern Insurance Company of New York (4/21/00) sp-5264Notice: This opinion is subject to correction before publication in the Pacific Reporter. Readers are requested to bring errors to the attention of the Clerk of the Appellate Courts, 303 K Street, Anchorage, Alaska 99501, phone (907) 264-0608, fax (907) 264-0878. THE SUPREME COURT OF THE STATE OF ALASKA M.C. and M.C., ) ) Supreme Court No. S-8558 Appellants, ) ) Superior Court No. v. ) 3AN-96-3845 CI ) NORTHERN INSURANCE COMPANY ) O P I N I O N OF NEW YORK, ) ) [No. 5264 - April 21, 2000] Appellee. ) ______________________________) Appeal from the Superior Court of the State of Alaska, Third Judicial District, Anchorage, John Reese, Judge. Appearances: Mitchel J. Schapira, Anchorage, for Appellants. David R. Millen and Marc G. Wilhelm, Richmond & Quinn, Anchorage, for Appellee. Before: Matthews, Chief Justice, Eastaugh, Bryner, and Carpeneti, Justices. [Fabe, Justice, not participating.] BRYNER, Justice. I. INTRODUCTION Steven Flory sexually abused Mary Cook, [Fn. 1] a fifteen-year-old girl who worked under his supervision. Mary and her mother sued Flory for damages; Flory confessed judgment and assigned them his right to pursue a claim against his employer's insurer, Northern Insurance Company of New York, which had denied coverage and had declined to defend Flory. The superior court granted summary judgment in favor of Northern, finding that Flory was not covered by the policy and that Northern had no duty to provide him a defense. The Cooks claim error. But the policy in question expressly excludes coverage for an employee's conduct that causes bodily injury to a co-employee. Because the record establishes that Mary was Flory's co-employee and that her claim against him involved a bodily injury, we affirm the superior court's judgment. II. FACTS AND PROCEEDINGS In June 1994, while employed by the Anchorage Daily News as a district manager responsible for newspaper home delivery, thirty-four-year-old Steven Flory engaged in sexual relations with a fifteen-year-old girl, Mary, a home delivery solicitor whom he supervised. The state charged Flory with sexual abuse of a minor in the first degree, an unclassified felony. [Fn. 2] Flory eventually pleaded no contest to the lesser charge of sexual abuse of a minor in the third degree, a class C felony. [Fn. 3] Meanwhile, Mary and her mother, Mildred Cook, filed an action against the Daily News and Flory, bringing claims of assault, battery, seduction, and intentional and negligent infliction of emotional distress against Flory, and vicarious liability, negligent hiring, and improper supervision against the Daily News. The complaint alleged that Flory's acts occurred within the scope of his employment with the Daily News as Mary's direct supervisor. The Daily News's insurer, Northern Insurance Company of New York, initially informed Flory that no coverage extended to him under the Daily News policies. Northern later offered to provide Flory with representation in the civil case under a reservation of right to contest coverage. Flory accepted the offer. But after Flory entered into a plea bargain and changed his plea to no contest in the criminal case, Northern informed Flory that it would withdraw coverage of his defense in the civil case. Flory then signed a confession of judgment in favor of the Cooks, assigning them his rights to proceed against Northern on the condition that they not pursue the judgment against him. The Cooks ultimately settled their claims against the Daily News and proceeded against Northern on Flory's assigned claims, alleging that as a Daily News employee, Flory was covered under the newspaper's commercial general liability policy and that Northern had breached its duties to defend and indemnify him. The superior court granted summary judgment in Northern's favor, concluding that Flory was not covered under the Northern policy, that Northern had no duty to defend him, and that his confession of judgment in favor of the Cooks was unenforceable against Northern. The Cooks appeal. III. DISCUSSION A. The Parties' Arguments The Cooks principally argue that the trial court erred in granting summary judgment on the question of coverage, contending that the issue of coverage involves questions of fact for the jury. They also contend that regardless of whether Flory was actually covered by the policy, the possibility of coverage required Northern to represent him. Last, they contend that the superior court erred in deciding that the Cooks' confessed judgment against Flory is unenforceable against Northern. Northern responds that Flory is not covered under the Daily News policy for multiple reasons, any one of which relieved it of its duty to pay under the policy: (1) his acts are excluded from coverage because they are intentional torts; (2) he acted outside the scope of his employment; and (3) his conduct fell within policy provisions excluding Daily News employees from coverage for injury to co-employees. For the same reasons, Northern maintains that it had no duty to defend Flory. Last, Northern insists that even if it did have a duty to defend Flory, it would not necessarily be liable to pay for Flory's settlement with the Cooks. B. Standard of Review This court reviews a grant of summary judgment de novo, applying its independent judgment. [Fn. 4] We determine whether the parties genuinely dispute any material facts and, if not, whether the undisputed facts entitle the moving party to judgment as a matter of law. [Fn. 5] If no facts are in dispute, we apply our independent judgment when we interpret the words of a contract. [Fn. 6] C. Even Assuming That Flory Acted Within the Scope of His Employment When He Sexually Abused Mary, Northern's Policy Excluded His Conduct From Coverage Because He Injured a Co-Employee. Although the Cooks insist that this case presents multiple questions of fact requiring jury resolution, we disagree because we conclude that the undisputed facts establish that Flory's conduct falls within an exclusion under the policy that Northern issued to the Daily News. Because the Cooks assert Flory's assigned claim against Northern, they cannot prevail unless they advance an arguable factual theory under which Flory would qualify as "an insured" under the Daily News policies. In Section II.2.a.(1), titled "WHO IS AN INSURED," the Daily News general liability policy specifies that Daily News employees are considered to be insured under the policy only while acting within the scope of their employment and only if their conduct does not cause injury to a co-employee: Each of the following is also an insured: a. Your employees, other than your executive officers, but only for acts within the scope of their employment by you. However, none of these employees is an insured for (1) "Bodily injury" or "personal injury" to you or to a co-employee while in the course of his or her employment[.] The umbrella policy contains a corresponding exclusion: The insurance provided by this policy does not apply to: . . . . Any employee as an "insured" with respect to "personal injury"[ [Fn. 7]] to another employee of the same employer injured in the course of such employment. For present purposes, we may assume, as the Cooks argue, that they have raised genuine issues of material fact supporting their claim that Flory was serving within the scope of his Daily News employment when he abused Mary. [Fn. 8] But even so, the Cooks advance no factually supported theory under which Flory might qualify for coverage as an insured under the foregoing policy provisions. Flory's conviction for sexual abuse of a minor precludes him from denying that Mary was his co-employee: Flory's felony conviction was predicated on the position of authority that he occupied in relation to Mary by virtue of her status as a Daily News employee; the record suggests no basis for that authority other than co-employee status. Moreover, Flory cannot deny that his claim arises from an incident involving bodily injury to Mary: [Fn. 9] In the civil complaint upon which Flory confessed judgment, the Cooks asserted a claim for bodily injury, alleging that Flory committed assault and battery. Flory's conviction of sexual abuse, based on the same incident as the civil complaint, also establishes that he caused bodily injury. [Fn. 10] And in any event, the Cooks could not sustain Flory's claim against Northern without alleging and proving bodily injury, since, under the undisputed facts of this case, bodily injury is the only potential basis for insurance coverage. [Fn. 11] The Cooks argue that Flory's acts of sexual abuse did not necessarily cause "expected or intended" "bodily injury" to Mary. But that issue is material only to the question of whether Flory's acts would be excluded from coverage under Section I.2.a of the policy. [Fn. 12] As shown by the language from policy Section II.2.a.(1) quoted above, whether Flory was an insured under the policy when he injured his co-employee is an entirely separate question. Because we find that the exclusion at Section II.2.a.(1) of the policy removes Flory from among those insured, we need not reach the issue of whether he intended or expected to cause Mary bodily injury when he sexually abused her. [Fn. 13] Since the undisputed facts establish that Flory was not among those insured under the policy, we uphold the superior court's order granting summary judgment to Northern on the Cooks' breach of coverage claim. [Fn. 14] D. Northern Had No Duty to Defend Flory, Because There Was No Possibility That He Was Insured Under the Daily News Policy for His Sexual Abuse of Mary. The Cooks separately dispute Northern's decision to withdraw its defense of Flory, arguing that because it violated its duty to defend, Northern has forfeited its right to argue the merits of any judgment against him. The Cooks contend that if there was any "possibility of coverage" of Flory's claim, Northern's duty to defend him was triggered, regardless of whether coverage was ultimately determined to exist. [Fn. 15] But under this standard Northern had no duty to defend Flory because, under the facts alleged in the Cooks' complaint against Flory and otherwise known by Northern when it decided to withdraw its defense, Flory could not conceivably have been covered by the policy. Northern withdrew its defense only after Flory pleaded no contest to a felony involving bodily injury to a co- employee. Because at that juncture Northern could fairly conclude that the suit against Flory was not "within or potentially within" the policy's coverage, Northern had no further duty to defend Flory. [Fn. 16] Since we have held that the policy excluded Flory from coverage and that Northern had no separate duty to defend him, we have no need to address the superior court's independent determination that the Cooks' judgment against Flory is unenforceable against Northern. IV. CONCLUSION We AFFIRM the superior court's judgment.