Court of Appeals of Missouri, Western District, Third Division
Appeal from the Circuit Court of Jackson County, Missouri. The Honorable Justine E. Del Muro, Judge.
Ellen J. Brooke, St. Louis, MO, for respondent.
Kirk R. Presley and James H. Thompson, Jr., Kansas City, MO, for sappellant.
Before Division Three: Victor C. Howard, Presiding Judge, James E. Welsh, Judge and Gary D. Witt, Judge. All concur.
Gary D. Witt, Judge.
Diane Lawson (" Lawson" ) and Heather Burlingame (" Burlingame" ) appeal from the trial court's summary judgment rulings in favor of Mendota Insurance Company (" Mendota" ) arising out of an action for wrongful death. In the proceedings below, based on stipulated facts, the trial court found that a personal automobile insurance policy between Lawson's deceased husband and Mendota was clear and unambiguous, that the policy was valid and enforceable, and that Mendota had no duty to defend or indemnify. The trial court thus denied Lawson's and Burlingame's motions for summary judgment, granted Mendota's motion for summary judgment, and granted Mendota's motion to dismiss Lawson's counter-claim. Lawson and Burlingame appeal these rulings. We affirm.
FACTUAL AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY
The key facts are stipulated by the parties. On June 3, 2012, Terry W. Lawson (" Terry" ) and Jeffery King (" King" ) were killed in an automobile accident when a 2001 Chevrolet S-10 pickup truck (the " Chevrolet" ), owned and operated by Terry, struck a ditch and overturned. Terry's wife, Lawson, is King's natural mother. She filed a wrongful death action against Terry's personal representative, Burlingame. Lawson alleged that Terry's negligent conduct caused King's wrongful death. Lawson obtained a judgment of more than three million dollars finding that Terry was negligent and that the negligence caused King's death.
Two automobiles, a 2005 Dodge Stratus (the " Dodge" ) and a 2006 Pontiac GT (the " Pontiac" ), were listed in the declarations section of Lawson's policy with Mendota (the " Policy" ). The Policy provided liability coverage of $25,000 per person and $50,000 per occurrence for those two vehicles. Additionally, the Chevrolet was a declared vehicle in a separate policy that Terry held with Progressive Casualty Insurance Company (" Progressive" ). The parties settled regarding all matters concerning the Progressive policy, and Progressive is not part of this appeal.
Mendota brought a declaratory judgment action seeking a declaration of its rights and obligations under the Policy. Inter alia, Mendota sought a judicial declaration that no liability coverage exists for any wrongful death claims, that the policy exclusions are valid and enforceable, that the policy exclusions apply to the facts of this case, that Mendota has no duty to defend the personal representative of Terry's estate, and that Mendota has no duty to indemnify the personal representative of Terry's estate.
Lawson filed a counter-claim against Mendota under Section 379.200 for bad faith failure to defend Burlingame in the underlying action that led to the judgment of more than three million dollars because Mendota had agreed to defend Burlingame only under a reservation of rights. Lawson alleged that Mendota is obligated to indemnify Terry's personal representative ...