Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

Forvendel v. State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Co.

Court of Appeals of Louisiana, Fifth Circuit

November 15, 2017

BRANDON FORVENDEL
v.
STATE FARM MUTUAL AUTOMOBILE INSURANCE COMPANY

         ON APPEAL FROM THE TWENTY-FOURTH JUDICIAL DISTRICT COURT PARISH OF JEFFERSON, STATE OF LOUISIANA NO. 739-497, DIVISION "H" HONORABLE GLENN B. ANSARDI, JUDGE PRESIDING

          COUNSEL FOR PLAINTIFF/APPELLEE, BRANDON FORVENDEL James I. Maher, III Charles M. Winters David L. Haik

          COUNSEL FOR DEFENDANT/APPELLANT, STATE FARM MUTUAL AUTOMOBILE INSURANCE COMPANY W. Ryan Acomb

          Panel composed of Judges Marc E. Johnson, Robert A. Chaisson, and Jessie M. LeBlanc, Judge Pro Tempore

         AFFIRMED

         JML

         RAC

         DISSENTS WITH REASONS

         MEJ

          JESSIE M. LEBLANC, JUDGE PRO TEMPORE JUDGE

         In the instant appeal, defendant-appellant, State Farm Automobile Insurance Company ("State Farm") seeks review of the trial court's judgment in favor of plaintiff-appellee, Brandon Forvendel. For the foregoing reasons, we find that the trial court did not manifestly err in finding that Mr. Forvendel could recover under both his own and his mother's uninsured motorist insurance policies. Accordingly, the judgment of the trial court is affirmed.

         Factual & Procedural History

         On July 19, 2013, Mr. Forvendel was involved in a three-car accident while driving a vehicle he owned and which was insured by State Farm. Mr. Forvendel's State Farm automobile insurance policy included uninsured motorist ("UM") coverage. Following the July 2013 accident, State Farm allowed Mr. Forvendel to recover the policy limits of his UM policy. However, Mr. Forvendel, who lived with his mother, Deborah Forvendel, at the time of the accident, also sought to recover under her State Farm UM policy, which carried significantly higher policy limits. State Farm refused to allow him to recover under his mother's policy. Mr. Forvendel subsequently filed suit against State Farm.

         In his Petition, Mr. Forvendel argued that he is entitled to recover UM benefits pursuant to his mother's policy because of State Farm's actions with regard to a 2007 accident which took place under strikingly similar circumstances. The two accidents share several important commonalities. First, in both accidents, Mr. Forvendel was injured while occupying his own vehicle, insured by State Farm. Second, at the time of both accidents, Mr. Forvendel carried UM coverage under his State Farm insurance policy. Third, Louisiana's "anti-stacking statute, " discussed below, was in effect at the time of both accidents. Finally, at the time of both accidents, Mr. Forvendel resided with his mother, who also carried UM coverage pursuant to her own State Farm policy.

          Following the 2007 accident, Mr. Forvendel recovered the limits of his own State Farm UM policy. Subsequently, he sought additional recovery under his mother's State Farm UM policy. On June 9, 2008, a State Farm manager wrote Mr. Forvendel's attorney a letter with reference to the 2007 accident and Deborah Forvendel's UM policy, stating that, "given the language in the policy … your client does qualify as an insured for Uninsured Motorist coverage." Consequently, State Farm allowed Mr. Forvendel to recover under both policies in effect at the time of the 2007 accident.

         Mr. Forvendel argues that State Farm, in allowing him to recover under both policies following the 2007 accident, waived its defense to allowing him to recover under his mother's UM policy with regard to the July 2013 accident. In response to this argument, State Farm contends that its behavior subsequent to the 2007 accident is irrelevant and cannot be used to create or expand UM coverage or recovery for Mr. Forvendel under his mother's policy with regard to the 2013 accident.

         The matter proceeded to a bench trial on August 18, 2016. Prior to trial, the parties entered into, inter alia, the following stipulations. First, the parties stipulated that Mr. Forvendel was the owner and operator of the Chevrolet Equinox involved in the motor vehicle accident that occurred on July 19, 2013. Second, the parties stipulated that Mr. Forvendel had UM coverage through State Farm, and that State Farm had allowed Mr. Forvendel to recover the limits of his own UM policy prior to trial. Finally, Mr. Forvendel stipulated that "his cause of action does not exceed $50, 000, exclusive of interest and costs."

         At trial, Mr. Forvendel and Deborah Forvendel both testified. Mr. Forvendel testified that after sustaining back injuries in his more recent accident, he had been forced to stop treatment because he was unable to afford further treatment. Deborah Forvendel testified that she had been a State Farm customer for over twenty five years, and that her insurance policy had remained essentially unchanged during that time. She further testified that she was never ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.