FROM CIVIL DISTRICT COURT, ORLEANS PARISH NO. 2015-06423,
DIVISION "I-14" Honorable Piper D. Griffin, Judge
Roderick Christopher Patrick PATRICK & ASSOCIATES COUNSEL
O'Bryon Laura A. Leggette O'BRYON & SCHNABEL, PLC
COUNSEL FOR DEFENDANT/APPELLEE
composed of Judge Daniel L. Dysart, Judge Regina
Bartholomew-Woods, Judge Terrel J. Broussard, Pro Tempore
Linda Tanet, appeals the May 19, 2016 judgment of the
district court granting the motion for summary judgment filed
by Appellee, GEICO General Insurance Company (hereinafter
"GEICO"). For the reasons that follow, we affirm
the judgment of the district court.
AND FACTUAL BACKGROUND
4, 2014, Appellant, a passenger in a vehicle operated by her
husband, Ronald Tanet, was injured as a result of a
single-vehicle, rollover accident. The parties agree that Mr.
Tanet was solely responsible for the accident. Both Appellant
and her husband owned the vehicle, and both were named
insureds on the policy which was issued by GEICO.
to the petition filed on July 6, 2015, as a result of the
accident, Appellant suffered severe and life-threatening
injuries. At the time of filing, Appellant's petition
alleged that GEICO had, to that point, failed to make any
coverage payments to Appellant. GEICO ultimately paid the
full amount of the liability policy which was $100, 000, but
denied Appellant's claim for underinsured coverage for
damages allegedly exceeding the liability amount.
to paying Appellant on the liability policy, GEICO moved for
summary judgment, arguing "the same person cannot be
insured with respect to liability coverage and also
un/underinsured with respect to UM coverage under the same
policy[, ]" relying on Bernard v. Ellis,
2011-2377 (La. 7/2/12), 111 So.3d 995. GEICO additionally
refers to the policy language contained in the
uninsured/underinsured section of the policy and the
amendments thereto in arguing that the plain language of the
policy specifically excludes both underinsured and uninsured
motor vehicles from the definition of an insured vehicle.
opposition to the motion, Appellant first noted this
state's strong public policy in favor of providing full
recovery for innocent accident victims and that any ambiguity
in the policy must be construed in favor of providing
coverage. Appellant also argues she is entitled to
underinsured coverage according to the language of the policy
and amendments thereto, as well as by virtue of her status as
a first-party insured who had paid for un/underinsured
coverage which attached to her as a person.
hearing on the motion proceeded on April 1, 2016, and the
district court granted summary judgment in GEICO's
favor. The district court signed the written
judgment on May 18, 2016. It is from this judgment that
Appellant now appeals. Appellant argues the judgment is not
only substantively incorrect, but also that GEICO failed to
follow local rules and statutory requirements when it filed
standard of review on appeal of a ruling on a motion for
summary judgment is well-settled, as explained by this Court
in Pierre-Ancar v. Browne-McHardy Clinic, 2000-2409,
pp. 4-5 (La.App. 4 Cir. 1/16/02), 807 So.2d 344, 347-48:
Appellate courts review summary judgments de novo,
using the same criteria applied by trial courts to determine
whether summary judgment is appropriate. Independent Fire
Ins. Co. v. Sunbeam Corp., 99-2181, 99-2257
(La.2/29/00), 755 So.2d 226, 230. Summary judgment is
properly granted only if the pleadings, depositions, answers
to interrogatories, and admissions on file, together with any
affidavits, show that there is no genuine issue of material
fact, and that the movant is entitled to judgment as a matter
of law. La. C.C. P. art. 966.
The initial burden of proof remains on the movant to show
that no genuine issue of material fact exists. However, if
the movant will not bear the burden of proof at trial, his
burden on the motion requires him not to negate all essential
elements of the plaintiff's claim, but rather to point
out that there is an absence of factual support for one or
more elements essential to the claim. La. C.C.P. art.
966(C)(2); Fairbanks v. Tulane University, 98-1228
(La.App. 4 Cir. 3/31/99), 731 So.2d 983, 985.
After the movant has met his initial burden of proof, the
burden shifts to the non-moving party to produce factual
support sufficient to establish that he will be able to
satisfy his evidentiary burden at trial. La. C.C.P. art.
966(C)(2). If the non-moving party fails to meet this burden,
there is no genuine issue of material fact, and the movant is
entitled to summary judgment. La. C.C.P. art. 966;
Schwarz v. Administrators of Tulane Educational
Fund, 97-0222 (La.App. 4 Cir. 9/10/97), 699 So.2d 895,
897. When a motion for summary judgment is properly
supported, the non-moving party may not rest on the mere
allegations of his pleading, but his response, by affidavits
or as otherwise provided by law, must set forth specific
facts showing that there is a genuine issue of material fact
for trial. La. C.C.P. art. 967; Townley v. City of
Iowa, 97-493 (La.App. 3 Cir. 10/29/97), 702 So.2d 323,
order for GEICO to succeed on its motion for summary
judgment, therefore, it was required to show there existed no
genuine issue of material fact as it applied to
Appellant's claim for underinsured motorist coverage.
of Error ...