Saturday, March 28, 2009

Family's Multivehicle Insurance Policy Documents Created Facts Issues

Supremes reverse summary judgment because of contradictions in auto insurance policy documents that require extrinsic evidence for resolution by the fact finder.

Progressive County Mutual Ins. Co. v. Kelley, (Tex. 2009)
No. 08-0073 (Tex. Mar. 27, 2009)(per curiam) (insurance policy documents were ambiguous, thus raising issues of fact precluding summary judgment) (contract construction, insurance coverage dispute, contract consisting of multiple documents, definiteness, ambiguity)


In this case, we consider whether two documents issued by an insurance company constitute two separate insurance policies or a single policy. We hold that this is a fact question and remand to the trial court.

Regan Kelley was struck by a car while riding her horse. Medical expenses for her injuries are alleged to have exceeded $1 million. After receiving $100,000 in benefits from the motorist’s insurer, Kelley made a claim with Progressive County Mutual Insurance Company (“Progressive”) for underinsured benefits under a policy issued to her parents, which also covered Kelley. At the time of the accident, Kelley was an adult living with her parents. Progressive paid the policy limit of $500,025. To cover the remaining damages, Kelley then made a claim under an alleged second policy with a limit of $500,025, also issued by Progressive. At the time of the accident, Progressive insured five of the Kelleys’ vehicles. Four vehicles were listed on a two-page document, and the fifth was listed on a separate two-page document. However, the documents had separate policy numbers. Nevertheless, Progressive denied there was a second policy and refused to make any additional payments.
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After reviewing the face of the documents and extrinsic evidence, we hold that the documents are ambiguous, and therefore, a fact finder should resolve the meaning. See J. M. Davidson, 128 S.W.3d at 230–31; Coker, 650 S.W.2d at 394 (“When a contract contains an ambiguity, the granting of a motion for summary judgment is improper because the interpretation of the instrument becomes a fact issue.”).[3] Therefore, without hearing argument, we reverse the court of appeals judgment and remand to the trial court

PROGRESSIVE COUNTY MUTUAL INSURANCE COMPANY v. REGAN KELLEY; from BrazosCounty; 10th district (10-06-00263-CV, ___ SW3d ___, 12-12-07)Pursuant to Texas Rule of Appellate Procedure 59.1, after granting the petition for review and withouthearing oral argument, the Court reverses the court of appeals' judgment and remands the case to thetrial court. Per Curiam Opinion

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