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08/16/83 JOHNNY HINES v. GOVERNMENT EMPLOYEES

August 16, 1983

JOHNNY HINES, PLAINTIFF-APPELLANT
v.
GOVERNMENT EMPLOYEES INSURANCE COMPANY, DEFENDANT-RESPONDENT, AND KENNETH AND RAYMOND ROBINSON, PLAINTIFFS-APPELLANTS
v.
GOVERNMENT EMPLOYEES INSURANCE COMPANY, DEFENDANT-RESPONDENT



From the Circuit Court of the City of St. Louis; Civil Appeal; Judge James S. Corcoran.

Motion for Rehearing Overruled September 20, 1983.

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Blackmar

The problem before us has to do with the "stacking" of uninsured motorist coverage and with the ramifications of our decision in Cameron Mutual Insurance Co. v. Madden, 533 S.W.2d 538 (Mo. banc 1976). We have been aided in our task by the able briefing and fine oral argument in this case and in Cano v. Travelers Insurance Company, 656 S.W.2d 266 (Mo. banc 1983).

Warren Harper owned two automobiles, both of which were insured by the defendant insurance company under a single policy. The policy contained uninsured motorist coverage for both cars, as required by § 379.203, RSMo 1978, with the minimum coverage of $10,000 per person and $20,000 per accident then required by statute. *fn1

Harper gave permission to plaintiff-appellant Johnny Hines to use one of his cars. Hines was driving and plaintiffs-appellants Kenneth Robinson and Raymond Robinson were passengers when the automobile collided with a vehicle negligently driven by John B. Scott, an uninsured motorist. The three plaintiffs each suffered injuries, which, combined, caused damages in excess of $40,000.

The plaintiffs brought suit against the insurance company alleging that a total of $40,000 of uninsured motorist coverage was available to them by reason of Harper's coverage for his two automobiles. They agreed on the division in the event of success. The insurance company asserted that, under the policy language, the three together had only $20,000 available, and that the policy provision so limiting the amount that could be recovered was valid and enforceable.

The trial Judge entered judgment for the defendant insurance company, holding that the only coverage available was that which insured the automobile in which the plaintiffs were riding. The Court of Appeals, Eastern District, reversed by four to three vote of an expanded panel. The majority based its Conclusion on Cameron Mutual, holding that the limitation to the uninsured coverage on the vehicle in which the plaintiffs were riding was invalid under that decision. It transferred the case here because of a perceived conflict between Cameron Mutual and its own decision in Linderer v. Royal Globe Insurance Co., 597 S.W.2d 656 (Mo. App. 1980), which the Dissenting Judges claimed was overruled by that court's majority opinion in this case. We have the case as on original appeal. We conclude that the circuit court reached the correct decision, and affirm its judgment.

The relevant policy provisions are as follows:

PART IV--PROTECTION AGAINST UNINSURED MOTORISTS

Coverage J--Uninsured Motorists (Damages for Bodily Injury): To pay all sums which the insured or his legal representative shall be legally entitled to recover as damages from the owner or operator of an uninsured automobile because of bodily injury, sickness or disease, including death resulting therefrom, hereinafter called "bodily injury," sustained by the insured, caused by accident and arising out of the ownership, maintenance or use of such uninsured automobile; provided, for the purposes of this coverage, determination as to whether the insured or such representative is legally entitled to recover such damages, and if so the amount thereof, shall be made by agreement between the insured or such representative and the company or, if they fail to agree, by arbitration.

Definitions: The definitions under Part I, except the definition of 'insured,' apply to Part IV, and under Part IV:

'insured' means:

(a) the named insured and any relative;

(b) any other person while occupying an insured ...


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