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Tuson v. Rodgers

Court of Appeals of Louisiana, Third Circuit

June 3, 2015

FRANK TUSON, ET AL.
v.
MERLYN RODGERS, ET AL

APPEAL FROM THE TWENTY-SEVENTH JUDICIAL DISTRICT COURT. PARISH OF ST. LANDRY, NO. 12-C-1808-D. HONORABLE MILDRED E. METHVIN, JUDGE PRO TEMPORE.

Daniel G. Brenner, R. Preston Mansour, Jr., Bolen, Parker, Brenner, Lee & Engelsman LTD., Alexandria, LA, COUNSEL FOR DEFENDANT-APPELLEE: National General Assurance Company.

V. Ed McGuire, III, Plauché , Smith & Nieset, Lake Charles, LA, COUNSEL FOR DEFENDANT-APPELLEE: Progressive Security Insurance Company.

Donovan J. O'Pry, II, Jeansonne & Remondet, Lafayette, LA, COUNSEL FOR PLAINTIFFS-APPELLANTS: Frank Tuson, Willard Tolliver, Lorenzo Ransaw.

Charles Brandt, Kyle Sherman, Kenneth M. Habetz, Jr., Brandt & Sherman, LLP, Lafayette, LA, COUNSEL FOR PLAINTIFFS-APPELLANTS: Keisha Harris, Aleta Hayden.

Court composed of John D. Saunders, Elizabeth A. Pickett, and Phyllis M. Keaty, Judges.

OPINION

Page 459

[15-66 La.App. 3 Cir. 1] PICKETT, Judge.

Five plaintiffs in this suit for damages resulting from an automobile accident appeal the trial court's grant of summary judgment in favor of an insurer and its denial of their cross motions for summary judgment. The trial court held that one defendant's selection of uninsured motorist (UM) coverage in an amount lower than its liability coverage was made properly and limited the UM coverage available to $100,000 for all claims arising from the accident. We reverse and remand.

Page 460

FACTS

This suit arises out of an automobile accident that occurred on October 12, 2011, in Opelousas, Louisiana. The accident occurred when a vehicle operated by Merlyn Rodgers rear-ended a vehicle operated by Crystal Bell and occupied by Frank Tuson, Willard Tolliver, Lorenzo Ransaw, Aleta Hayden, and Keisha Harris. Allstate Insurance Company (Allstate) insured the vehicle operated by Rodgers, which was owned by Shirley Kennerson. Progressive Security Insurance Company (Progressive) insured the vehicle operated by Bell, which was owned by Compass Behavioral Center of Crowley, LLC (Compass).

On April 12, 2012, Tuson, Tolliver, and Ransaw filed a Petition for Damages against Rodgers and Allstate. These plaintiffs then filed a First Supplemental and Amending Petition for Damages on April 18, 2013, alleging entitlement to UM coverage and naming Progressive as a defendant in its capacity as the UM insurer of the vehicle that Bell was driving when the accident occurred. Hayden and Harris filed a Petition for Intervention in the above action, naming Rodgers and Allstate as defendants. Thereafter, they filed a First Supplemental and Amending Petition for Intervention, alleging they were entitled to UM [15-66 La.App. 3 Cir. 2] coverage and naming Progressive as a defendant in its capacity as the UM insurer of the Compass vehicle. Lastly, Bell filed a Petition for Intervention then a First Supplemental and Amending Petition for Intervention, naming Rodgers, Allstate, and Progressive as defendants.

Compass purchased a combined single limit (CSL) automobile insurance policy from Progressive which provided liability coverage in the amount of $1 million. On November 28, 2007, Compass representative, Mark Cullen, executed an Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist Bodily Injury (UMBI) Coverage Form issued by the commissioner of insurance in compliance with La.R.S. 22:680. Mr. Cullen testified in his deposition ...


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