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Williams v. Usagencies Casualty Insurance Company, Inc.

Court of Appeals of Louisiana, Second Circuit

September 26, 2018

ALCENDER WILLIAMS, JR. Respondent
v.
USAGENCIES CASUALTY INSURANCE COMPANY, INC. LOUISIANA INSURANCE GUARANTY ASSOCIATION Applicant

          On Application for Writs from the Monroe City Court for the Parish of Ouachita, Louisiana Trial Court No. 2014CV01158 Honorable Aisha S. Clark, Judge.

          MILLING BENSON WOODWARD, LLP By: Benjamin M. Chapman J. Jacob Chapman Stephanie B. Laborde Counsel for Applicant

          NELSON, ZENTNER, SARTOR, & SNELLINGS, L.L.C. By: Thomas G. Zentner, Jr. ANTHONY J. BRUSCATO Counsel for Respondent

          Before WILLIAMS, COX, and McCALLUM, JJ.

          WILLIAMS, J.

         This Court granted an application for supervisory writ filed by the defendant, Louisiana Insurance Guaranty Association ("LIGA"), to review the trial court's judgment denying the defendant's motion for summary judgment. For the following reasons, we conclude the trial court erred. Therefore, we make the writ peremptory and reverse the trial court's judgment.

         FACTS

         On July 20, 2013, the plaintiff, Alcender Williams, Jr., was walking across the intersection of Grayling Lane and Hawes Street in Monroe, Louisiana. He was injured when he was struck by a vehicle being driven by Eric Davis; the registered owner of the Davis vehicle was Sharon Davis. The plaintiff submitted a claim to Sharon Davis' automobile liability insurer, Progressive Security Insurance ("Progressive"). Thereafter, the plaintiff and Progressive reached a settlement for the $15, 000 policy limit, plus interest, for a total of $15, 161.49.

         At the time of the accident, the plaintiff resided with his mother, Bernadene Hubbard, and he reserved his rights against her uninsured/underinsured motorist ("UM") insurer, USAgencies Casualty Insurance Company ("USAgencies"), which later became known as Affirmative Casualty Insurance Company ("Affirmative"). Subsequently, the plaintiff submitted a UM claim to USAgencies/Affirmative asserting that the limits of the Progressive policy were insufficient to compensate him for his damages. USAgencies/Affirmative rejected the claim, asserting that the plaintiff was an excluded driver under the policy.

         On April 25, 2014, the plaintiff filed a lawsuit against USAgencies/Affirmative for damages and attorney fees on the following grounds: the insurer failed to pay his UM claim under La. R.S. 22:1892; the insurer breached its duty of good faith under La. R.S. 22:1973; and the insurer engaged in unfair methods of practice under La. R.S. 22:1963. Thereafter, both parties moved for summary judgment. The trial court granted summary judgment in favor of the plaintiff, finding that the plaintiff was entitled to coverage "under the medical payment provision of the policy (at defendant's cost) but not under the uninsured/underinsured provision." Subsequently, the trial court granted the plaintiff's motion for rehearing and granted the "plaintiff's motion for summary judgment as it relates to [the uninsured/underinsured provision] of the policy providing for coverage of plaintiff's damages." Following an appeal by USAgencies/Affirmative, this Court affirmed the trial court's ruling. Williams v. USAgencies Cas. Ins. Co., 50, 185 (La.App. 2 Cir. 9/30/15), 186 So.3d 96.

         On April 11, 2016, USAgencies/Affirmative was declared insolvent. As a result of the liquidation of the insurer, LIGA began discharging its obligation with regard to other claims made against USAgencies/Affirmative, as provided in the Louisiana Insurance Guaranty Association Law. On January 31, 2017, the plaintiff filed a supplemental and amended petition adding LIGA as a defendant.

         On June 9, 2017, LIGA filed a motion for summary judgment asserting that it was entitled to a statutory credit, pursuant to La. R.S. 22:2062, for the $15, 161.49 that was paid to the plaintiff under the Progressive policy. LIGA also argued that its financial obligation to the plaintiff would be extinguished after that credit was applied to the $15, 000 maximum that it would be obligated to pay under the UM policy. Accordingly, LIGA argued, there were no genuine issues of material fact and it was entitled to judgment as a matter of law.

         Following a hearing, the trial court denied LIGA's motion for summary judgment, stating:

The motion for summary judgment in this matter is denied. Wilson v. Brown 2005 WL 2204861 (La. Dist. Ct.)
LSA-R.S. 22:2058, Formerly cited as LA R.S.
22:1382
Blackwell vs. Williams, 618 So.2d 477.

         This Court granted LIGA's application for supervisory ...


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