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Owners Insurance Co. v. Parkison

Court of Appeals of Missouri, Eastern District, First Division

January 31, 2017

OWNERS INSURANCE COMPANY, Appellant,
v.
GARY PARKISON AND JUDITH PARKISON, Individually, and JOHN VEST as Class Representative for the Estate of Betty Vest, Respondents.

         Appeal from the Circuit Court of the City of St. Louis 1422-CC10222 Honorable David L. Dowd.

          ROBERT M. CLAYTON III, Presiding Judge.

         Owners Insurance Company ("Appellant") appeals the trial court's grant of summary judgment in favor of Gary Parkison and Judith Parkison, individually, and John Vest, as class representative for the estate of Betty Vest ("Respondents") on Appellant's declaratory judgment action brought to determine coverage under a garage liability insurance policy issued by Appellant. We affirm.

         I. BACKGROUND

         A. The Events Giving Rise to Appellant's Claim

         While the parties dispute the interpretation of the relevant insurance policy, they do not dispute the underlying facts, which are as follows. In June 2013, Bill Grant Ford Inc., a car dealership, provided a 1998 Ford Taurus, which it owned, to John Sconce for use as a temporary substitute vehicle while his vehicle was undergoing repairs.

         On June 29, 2013, Sconce's son, Jesse, [1] was driving the Taurus northbound on Missouri Route 123 when he allowed the vehicle to travel across the centerline and collide into a vehicle traveling southbound on the same route. Gary Parkison was driving the other vehicle involved, a Ford Fusion; Judith Parkison and Betty Vest were passengers in the car. The Parkisons and Vest were injured in the accident, and Vest died as a result of her injuries. The Missouri Highway Patrol's investigation determined Jesse was at fault in the collision. Two passengers in the Taurus were also injured.

         B. Insurance Policies Relevant to this Appeal

         At the time of the collision, Jesse was insured under an automobile liability policy issued by Progressive Insurance Company ("the Progressive policy"), which provided bodily injury coverage to Jesse with limits of $25, 000 per person and $50, 000 per occurrence.

         Additionally, the Taurus was insured under a garage liability insurance policy issued to Bill Grant Ford from Appellant ("the Owners policy"). The parties agree Jesse met the definition of a "garage customer, " and thus qualified as an "insured person" under the Owners policy. The Owners policy contained a declaration page which set the limit of the bodily injury liability coverage under the Garage Liability portion of the policy at $1, 000, 000 per occurrence.[2]

         The terms of the Garage Liability part are set out in a thirty-one page form, divided into the following "Sections":

Section I - Definitions
Section II - Coverage (defining the scope of coverages, and setting out the "Exclusions" applicable to each coverage)
Section III - Who is an Insured
Section IV - Limits of Insurance
Section V - Deductible
Section VI - What You Must Do After an Accident, Occurrence or Loss
Section VII - General Conditions (including sixteen subsections, one of which is "Other Insurance")

         The Garage Liability policy form is supplemented by fifteen pages containing ten endorsements, the last of which is the subject of this appeal. Form 89880, titled "Missouri Amendatory Endorsement - Garage Liability, " contains an amendment to the "Other Insurance" section, and includes the clause that Appellant contends precludes coverage in this case and which is italicized below, along with other relevant language.

         MISSOURI AMENDATORY ENDORSEMENT - GARAGE LIABILITY

         It is agreed:

1. Under SECTION VII - GENERAL CONDITIONS, E. OTHER INSURANCE, condition 4. is deleted and replaced with the following:
4. This provision governs the relationship of this policy with insurance policies issued by insurance companies other than us. It does not define our limit of liability to pay any coverage provided by this policy and shall not be constructed to increase any limit of liability described under
SECTION IV - LIMITS OF INSURANCE.[3]
This insurance shall be, with respect to any auto to which this insurance applies:
a. Primary insurance for any auto owned by you except when such auto is in the care, custody or control of a garage customer. When any auto owned by you is in the care, custody or control of a garage customer:
(1) No damages are collectible under this policy if there is other collectible insurance, whether primary, excess or contingent, available to the garage customer and the limits of such insurance are sufficient to pay damages up to the amount of the applicable financial responsibility limit.[4]
(2) If there is no other collectible insurance available to the garage customer, damages are collectible under this policy only up to the amount required by the ...

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