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McBride v. Farm Bureau Town & Country Insurance Company of Missouri

Court of Appeals of Missouri, Southern District, First Division

November 14, 2019

MATTHEW R. MCBRIDE, Plaintiff-Respondent,
v.
FARM BUREAU TOWN & COUNTRY INSURANCE COMPANY OF MISSOURI, Defendant-Appellant.

          Appeal from the Circuit Court of Scott County Honorable David A. Dolan, Circuit Judge.

          OPINION

          WILLIAM W. FRANCIS, JR., J.

         Matthew R. McBride ("McBride") brought a declaratory judgment action against Farm Bureau Town & Country Insurance Company of Missouri ("Farm Bureau") seeking a judicial determination that McBride was an insured under his father's uninsured motorist ("UM") coverage pursuant to four policies from Farm Bureau, and that the UM coverages could be stacked. Both parties filed cross motions for summary judgment, and the trial court granted summary judgment in favor of McBride and against Farm Bureau. In one point on appeal, Farm Bureau argues the trial court erred in that the applicable policy usage of the word "owned" was not ambiguous, UM coverage was therefore inapplicable, and the trial court erred in granting McBride's motion and in denying Farm Bureau's motion. Finding merit to Farm Bureau's point, we reverse and remand with directions to enter judgment in favor of Farm Bureau in accord with this opinion.

         Facts and Procedural History

         We recite the record in accord with the operative uncontested facts from the summary judgment record, and view the reasonable inferences available therefrom in the light most favorable to Farm Bureau (i.e., the party against whom summary judgment was entered). See ITT Commercial Fin. Corp. v. Mid-America Marine Supply Corp., 854 S.W.2d 371, 376 (Mo. banc 1993).

         McBride lived with his father, Jeffrey McBride, in Benton, Missouri. Father is the named insured of a motor vehicle insurance policy (hereinafter "the Policy"), issued by Farm Bureau effective August 14, 2017 to February 14, 2018. The Policy covers four separate motor vehicles, (a 2006 Dodge Ram Pickup, a 2014 Dodge Dart, a 2012 Nissan Sentra, and a 2005 Chrysler 300), and each vehicle listed under the Policy has its own declarations page.

         On or about August 25, 2017, Auston Colgan operated a Jeep that was involved in a motor vehicle crash. McBride was a passenger in the Jeep at the time of the crash, and sustained injuries resulting in medical expenses exceeding $116, 000. At the time of the crash, Colgan's Jeep was not covered by a policy of motor vehicle liability insurance.

         As relevant here, the Farm Bureau policies at issue recited as follows:

PART C-UNINSURED MOTOR VEHICLE COVERAGE
Who is an Insured
1. The first person listed as a Named Insured on the Automobile Declaration and/or the first person listed as Designated Representative on the Automobile Declaration.

         The summary judgment record reflects that "Jeffrey S McBride" is the first-named insured on the policies.

         The "Who is an Insured" section for UM coverage continues as follows:

3. The family members of the person(s) identified in 1. above except that any family member who owns or leases an auto is only considered to be an insured while occupying your auto, a temporary substitute auto, a newly ...

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