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Yager v. Shelter General Insurance Company

Court of Appeals of Missouri, Western District, Fourth Division

May 5, 2015

MONTE YAGER, JR., Appellant,
v.
SHELTER GENERAL INSURANCE COMPANY and SHELTER MUTUAL INSURANCE COMPANY, Respondents

James S. Manning, Harrisonville, MO, and Phillip S. Smith, Kansas City, MO, for appellant.

William C. Crawford, Michael S. Meyer, and James P. Maloney, Kansas City, MO, for respondent.

Before Division Four: Alok Ahuja, C.J., Joseph M. Ellis, J., and Marco A. Roldan, Sp. J. All concur.

OPINION

Alok Ahuja, Chief Judge

Page 69

Monte Yager, Jr., was injured in a 2011 motor vehicle accident. He received partial compensation for his injuries from an insurance policy covering the car that struck his motorcycle. Yager then filed an equitable garnishment action, seeking additional insurance coverage under policies which insured other vehicles owned by the car driver's family. The circuit court concluded that there was no coverage under the other policies. Yager appeals. We affirm.

Factual Background

On August 27, 2011, Skylar Trail struck Yager while driving in Clinton County.

Page 70

Skylar[1] was driving a 1994 Honda Civic owned by her parents, Melvin and Tina Trail. Yager was riding a motorcycle.

The Civic was insured by Shelter General Insurance Company. The Civic policy was subject to a $50,000 per-person limit of liability for bodily injury claims. Skylar was named as an " additional listed insured" on the Civic policy; her parents Melvin and Tina were listed as " named insureds." Although Skylar did not own a vehicle, the Trail family owned three other vehicles insured by Shelter: a 2000 Ford F-350, a 2010 Kia Forte, and a 1998 Ford Mustang.[2] We refer to the policies insuring these other vehicles -- none of which were involved in the August 2011 accident -- as the " other Shelter policies." As with the Civic policy, Melvin and Tina Trail are listed as " named insureds" on each of the other Shelter policies, and Skylar Trail is listed as an " additional listed insured" on each policy.

Yager and Shelter entered into an agreement pursuant to § § 537.060 and 537.065, RSMo, under which Yager agreed not to seek recovery for his injuries from the Trails' personal assets, but instead only to seek recovery from their insurance coverage. The circuit court approved a stipulated judgment against Skylar Trail in favor of Yager. Shelter paid Yager $50,000 under the Civic policy, equal to the per-person policy limit applicable to bodily injury claims. Shelter denied liability, however, under the other Shelter policies. Yager then filed an equitable garnishment action pursuant to § 379.200, RSMo against Shelter, seeking further recovery under the other Shelter policies.

Shelter filed a motion for summary judgment, which was denied. The parties later appeared before the circuit court for a bench trial. Yager tendered to the court a joint stipulation of facts, and copies of the four Shelter insurance policies. Neither party presented additional evidence. The circuit court's judgment concluded that Yager " was not entitled to receive bodily injury liability coverage under any of the Other Shelter Policies because Skylar Trail did not meet the definition of an 'insured' under the Other Shelter Policies." The court concluded that Skylar was not entitled to coverage under the other Shelter policies because at the time of the accident she was not operating the " described auto" listed in any of the other Shelter policies; nor was she driving a " non-owned auto."

Yager appeals.

Analysis

Yager argues that the other Shelter policies each provide coverage for the August 2011 accident in which he was injured, and that the limits of the other Shelter policies should be " stacked" to provide coverage equal to the policies' combined per-person limits of liability for bodily injury claims.

Resolution of this appeal requires us to interpret the language of the other Shelter policies in light of the facts to which the parties stipulated in the circuit court. This presents solely a question of law,

Page 71

which we review de novo. " When a case is tried on stipulated facts, the only issue we review on appeal is whether the trial court reached the proper legal conclusions from the stipulated facts." City of St. John v. Brockus, 434 S.W.3d 90, 93 (Mo. App. E.D. 2014) (citation and internal quotation marks omitted); accord, Dr ...


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