FROM THE CIRCUIT COURT OF SAINT LOUIS COUNTY The Honorable
Joseph L. Walsh, III, Judge
W. DRAPER III, JUDGE
Insurance Company (hereinafter, "Shelter") appeals
from the circuit court's entry of summary judgment in
favor of its policy holder, Leslie Seaton (hereinafter,
"Seaton"). The circuit court found Seaton was
entitled to underinsured motorist (hereinafter,
"UIM") coverage under three insurance policies
Seaton maintained with Shelter after the death of her
daughter, Chelsea Seaton (hereinafter, "Decedent").
Because the plain language of two of the insurance policies
at issue unambiguously provides Decedent was not an insured
entitled to UIM coverage, the circuit court's judgment is
reversed, and the case is remanded.
and Procedural History
Megan Deaton (hereinafter, "Driver") lost control
of the vehicle she was driving and crashed, her passenger,
Decedent, sustained fatal injuries. Following Decedent's
death, Seaton asserted a wrongful death claim against Driver.
Driver settled the claim for her insurance policy's
then sought UIM coverage from Shelter under the three
automobile policies she maintained. Shelter provided UIM
coverage pursuant to one of the insurance policies. However,
Shelter denied UIM coverage under the other two insurance
policies, asserting Decedent was not a defined insured for
filed a declaratory judgment action against Shelter, seeking
a declaration that UIM coverage existed for Decedent and
alleging breach of contract. Seaton and Shelter filed
cross-motions for summary judgment. The circuit court entered
summary judgment in Seaton's favor. After an opinion by
the court of appeals, this Court granted transfer. Mo. Const.
art. V, sec. 10. Shelter appeals, challenging the circuit
court's determination Decedent was an insured and the
insurance policies were internally
review of summary judgment is de novo. ITT
Commercial Fin. Corp. v. Mid-Am. Marine Supply Corp.,
854 S.W.2d 371, 376 (Mo. banc 1993). This Court reviews
"the record in the light most favorable to the party
against whom judgment was entered." Id. The
party against whom summary judgment was entered is accorded
the benefit of every doubt. Korando v. Mallinckrodt,
Inc., 239 S.W.3d 647, 648-49 (Mo. App. E.D. 2007).
sets forth two reasons it believes the circuit court erred in
granting summary judgment in Seaton's favor. First,
Shelter asserts the circuit court erred because Decedent is
not an "insured" under the insurance policies'
unambiguous language. Second, Shelter asserts the circuit
court erred in finding the insurance policies were internally
was not an Insured
argues the circuit court erred in entering judgment in
Seaton's favor because Decedent does not qualify as an
insured under Seaton's UIM insurance policies. Shelter
contends Decedent does not meet any of the three definitions
of "insured" set forth by the insurance policies.
"interpretation of an insurance policy is a question of
law that this Court also determines de novo."
Owners Ins. Co. v. Craig, 514 S.W.3d 614, 616 (Mo.
banc 2017) (quoting Seeck v. Geico Gen. Ins. Co.,
212 S.W.3d 129, 132 (Mo. banc 2007)). "When interpreting
an insurance policy, this Court gives the policy language its
plain meaning, or the meaning that would be attached by an
ordinary purchaser of insurance." Doe Run Res. Corp.
v. Am. Guar. & Liab. Ins., 531 S.W.3d 508, 511 (Mo.
banc 2017). "Definitions, exclusions, conditions and
endorsements are necessary provisions in insurance
policies." Piatt v. Ind. Lumbermen's Mut. Ins.
Co., 461 S.W.3d 788, 792 (Mo. banc 2015) (quoting
Todd v. Mo. United Sch. Ins. Council, 223 S.W.3d
156, 163 (Mo. banc 2007)). A policy must be enforced as
written when its language is clear and unambiguous.