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Nova Casualty Co. v. Guy's Towing Serv., Inc.

United States District Court, W.D. Louisiana, Lafayette Division

May 29, 2015

NOVA CASUALTY COMPANY,
v.
GUY'S TOWING SER V. INC., ET AL

MEMORANDUM RULING

REBECCA F. DOHERTY, District Judge.

The instant case was filed by Nova Casualty Company ("Nova") as a declaratory judgment action, in which Nova seeks a declaration from this Court that it does not owe uninsured motorist ("UM") coverage under a policy of liability insurance issued to its insured, Guy's Towing. The matter comes before the Court on cross motions for summary judgment. In its Motion for Summary Judgment, [Doc. 21], Nova seeks dismissal with prejudice of the claims of the decedent's parents[1] on grounds the undisputed material facts show the "Nova policy issued to Guy's Towing Services, Inc... at the time of the subject accident did not provide UM/UIM coverage because Guy's Towing executed a valid and effective rejection of UM/UIM coverage." In response, counterclaimants Terry Allen Louviere and Kathy Ann Miller Louviere - the parents of the decedent - filed a Motion for Summary Judgment [Doc. 26], in which they seek a "declaratory judgment" in their favor, arguing the Nova UM waiver form is invalid, and UM coverage is therefore owed. Because both motions turn on the issue of whether UM coverage exists under the policy in question and implicates all issues alleged in the case, the instant motions are true dispositive cross-motions for summary judgment.

Both parties filed responsive briefs [Docs. 26 & 30], and the counterclaimants filed a Motion for Leave to File Reply Memorandum in Support of its Motion for Summary Judgment [Doc. 32], which is herein GRANTED.

I. Factual and Procedural Background

The following facts are undisputed:

1. At all pertinent times, Aubert King was the president and duly authorized legal representative of Guy's Towing.
2. On or about November 10, 2011, Nova issued a policy of liability insurance to Guy's Towing bearing Policy No. TIP-CL-0011023-0, with effective dates of November 10, 2011 to November 10, 2012 ("the 2011-12 Nova Policy").
3. In connection with the issuance of the 2011-12 Nova Policy, on November 10, 2011, Guy's Towing, through Mr. King, executed a form related to a waiver of UM coverage, and indicated on this form that Guy's Towing wished to limit uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage under the 2011-12 Nova Policy to the amount of $50, 000.00.
4. With regard to the form executed on behalf of Guy's Towing on November 10, 2011:
a. Mr. King initialed the form next to the selection of coverage lower than the liability limits;
b. The amount of UM coverage selected for each person and each accident - $50, 000.00 - was filled in;
c. Mr. King signed his name on every page;
d. An application number - APP36623104 - was filled in on the first page of the five-page form; and
e. Mr. King dated the form on every page.
5. On November 9, 2012, Nova issued a policy of insurance to Guy's Towing bearing Policy No. TIP-CL-0011023-I, with effective dates of November 10, 2012 to November 10, 2013 ("the 2012-13 Nova Policy").
6. In connection with the issuance of the 2012-13 policy, Mr. King executed a form related to a waiver of UM coverage on behalf of Guy's Towing, this time indicating Guy's Towing's wish to reject uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage for the November 10, 2012-November 10, 2013 policy period.
7. With regard to the form executed on behalf of Guy's Towing on November 9, 2012:
a. Mr. King initialed the form next to the selection of coverage lower than the liability limits;
b. Coverage was rejected outright;
c. Mr. King signed his name on every page;
d. The policy number - TIP-CL-0011023-0R - was filled in on the first page of ...

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