Court of Appeals of Missouri, Southern District, First Division
FROM THE CIRCUIT COURT OF POLK COUNTY Honorable Michael O.
W. SHEFFIELD, C.J.
Kuntz ("Ms. Kuntz"), Carmen Melton ("Ms.
Melton"), Teresa Morris-Pickrell ("Ms.
Morris-Pickrell"), and Tony Pickrell ("Mr.
Pickrell") (collectively, "Appellants") appeal
from the trial court's order granting summary judgment in
favor of Keystone Mutual Insurance Company
("Keystone"). Appellants raise two points: (1) that
the trial court erred in denying Ms. Kuntz and Ms.
Melton's motion for summary judgment because the
undisputed material facts prove their right to equitable
garnishment and (2) that the trial court erred in granting
Keystone's motion for summary judgment because there are
disputed issues of material fact with respect to
Keystone's claim that the policy was void ab
initio due to its insured's misrepresentations.
Appellants' first point is unreviewable because the
denial of a motion for summary judgment is not an appealable
order. However, Appellants' second point has merit.
Consequently, we reverse the trial court's judgment and
remand the case for further proceedings.
and Procedural Background
appeal from summary judgment, this Court views "the
record in the light most favorable to the party against whom
judgment was entered" and accords "the non-movant
the benefit of all reasonable inferences from the
record." ITT Comm. Fin. Corp. v. Mid-America Marine
Supply Corp., 854 S.W.2d 371, 376 (Mo. banc 1993). So
viewed, the following facts were presented in the
parties' summary judgment documents.
Nolan Crisp ("Dr. Crisp") practiced medicine at the
Pomme De Terre Bolivar Family Wellness Clinic ("the
clinic"). On July 7, 2009, Dr. Crisp submitted an
application for medical malpractice insurance the ("2009
application") to Keystone. In the 2009 application, Dr.
Crisp made several representations by marking check-boxes,
including that he had never had his privileges to practice at
any healthcare facility revoked and that he had never been
accused of sexual misconduct of any kind. As part of the
application, Dr. Crisp also included a supplemental claims
data sheet which listed several medical negligence lawsuits.
Dr. Crisp's application further stated "he had no
knowledge of any incident that resulted, or may result, in a
claim or potential claim that was not listed in the
supplemental information sheet."
did not conduct any independent search for potential
litigation against Dr. Crisp after receiving his 2009
application. Keystone issued a policy ("the 2009
policy") based on Dr. Crisp's representations in his
2009 application. The policy term for the 2009 policy ran
from July 7, 2009, until July 6, 2010. During that time, Dr.
Crisp failed to notify Keystone of any changes to his answers
and statements in the 2009 application. Among other things,
Dr. Crisp did not inform Keystone when Taylor v.
Crisp, an additional medical negligence lawsuit, had
been filed. Neither did Dr. Crisp inform Keystone that there
had been complaints by a female patient about Dr. Crisp's
inappropriate sexual behavior towards her.
1, 2010, Dr. Crisp sent a letter ("the 2010
letter") to Keystone. The reference line of the letter
stated "Malpractice/Liability insurance[.]" The
body of the letter stated:
Please be advised that there have been no changes to my
information regarding malpractice insurance from the previous
years. There have been no claims filed in the last twelve
months. If you need further information, please feel free to
call my office.
did not conduct any independent search for potential
litigation against Dr. Crisp nor did Keystone obtain any
information about Dr. Crisp from Dr. Crisp's prior
insurance carriers after receiving the 2010 letter. Keystone
did not require nor did it receive another completed and
signed application form from Dr. Crisp in July 2010. After
receiving the 2010 letter, however, Keystone issued a second
medical malpractice insurance policy to Dr. Crisp ("the
2010 policy"). The 2010 policy had a policy period of
July 7, 2010, to July 6, 2011.
the 2010 policy was issued, Dr. Crisp again failed to inform
Keystone of any changes to the information provided in the
2009 application. But there were changes. These changes
included reports from patients about inappropriate sexual
contact as well as termination of Dr. Crisp's privilege
to practice at the clinic on November 10, 2010.
April 18, 2011, Keystone sent Dr. Crisp a letter stating that
it was rescinding the 2010 policy because Dr. Crisp had
failed to disclose information. With its letter, Keystone
enclosed a refund of the premium Dr. Crisp had paid for the
a year later, on March 21, 2012, Ms. Kuntz and Ms. Melton
sued Dr. Crisp for battery, negligent infliction of emotional
distress, intentional infliction of emotional distress, and
medical negligence based on alleged sexual misconduct and
over prescription of drugs. On November 15, 2013, Ms. Kuntz
and Ms. Melton consolidated their cases and dismissed their
claims of negligent infliction of emotional distress,
intentional inflection of emotional distress, and battery.
The remaining medical negligence counts were tried to the
court, and the trial court entered judgment in favor of Ms.
Melton and Ms. Kuntz. On October 19, 2012, Ms.
Morris-Pickrell and Mr. Pickrell sued Dr. Crisp for
intentional infliction of emotional distress ...