Court of Appeals of Missouri, Southern District, First Division
ROY L. WISE, Plaintiff-Appellant,
BRENT R. THORNHILL, Defendant, and SAVERS PROPERTY & CASUALTY INSURANCE CO., Defendant-Respondent
FROM THE CIRCUIT COURT OF LAWRENCE COUNTY. Honorable Jack A.
L. Goodman, Circuit Judge.
W. BATES, J. - OPINION AUTHOR. DANIEL E. SCOTT, P.J. -
CONCUR. MARY W. SHEFFIELD, C.J. - CONCUR.
W. BATES, Judge
appeal arises out of a lawsuit filed by Roy Wise (Wise)
against Brent Thornhill (Thornhill) and Savers Property and
Casualty Insurance Company (Savers) to recover damages
resulting from a single-vehicle accident. The first amended
petition alleged that: (1) Thornhill's negligent
operation of a fire truck injured his co-employee, Wise; and
(2) the uninsured motorist (UM) benefits in Savers'
policy provided coverage for Wise's damages. The trial
court decided Savers' policy provided no UM coverage for
the accident. The court granted summary judgment to Savers,
and the claim against Thornhill was voluntarily dismissed
without prejudice. This appeal followed.
argues that the trial court misapplied the law because
Savers' policy does provide UM coverage of his claim. We
disagree and affirm.
and Procedural Background
parties agree that this case presents a question of law
arising from the following undisputed facts. Thornhill and
Wise were co-employee members of the Halltown Volunteer Fire
Department (hereinafter referred to as Employer). On June 7,
2011, Thornhill was driving a fire department truck in his
capacity as a volunteer fireman, and co-employee Wise was a
passenger in that vehicle. The truck ran off the road and
overturned, causing serious bodily injuries to Wise. The
workers' compensation insurer for Employer paid
approximately $100,000 in benefits to Wise.
time of the accident, the fire truck was insured via a
business auto policy issued by Savers. Employer was named
insured on the policy. Wise made a claim against the
liability coverage of Employer's policy, which was denied
by Savers based upon: (1) the Employee Indemnification and
Employer's Liability exclusion; (2) the Fellow Employee
exclusion; (3) the Injury to Volunteer Firemen exclusion; and
(4) the Emergency Services -- Volunteer Firefighters' and
Workers' Injuries exclusion.
then made a claim under the UM coverage of Employer's
policy. The coverage provision stated that Savers would pay
all sums the insured was legally entitled to recover as
compensatory damages from the owner or driver of an uninsured
motor vehicle. In relevant part, the UM coverage defined an
uninsured motor vehicle as one " for which no ... policy
... provides at least the amounts required by the applicable
law" or " [f]or which an insuring ... company
and Savers each filed a motion for summary judgment. The
trial court made the following ruling:
[T]he relevant inquiry in this case to determine if uninsured
motorist coverage shall be extended under the facts and
policy at issue is whether the fire truck was insured,
despite exclusions of coverage under specific facts. In this
case, although this insurance policy purchased by the
[Employer] fire department did not provide coverage for
[Wise's] injuries sustained in the course of his service
while the fire truck was driven by Defendant Thornhill, his
fellow firefighter, coverage clearly existed for the fire
truck. Therefore, this court, in accordance with Missouri law
and precedent, ...