FROM THE NINTH JUDICIAL DISTRICT COURT PARISH OF RAPIDES, NO.
253, 103 HONORABLE MONIQUE F. RAULS, DISTRICT JUDGE
E. Mercer Kourtney Twenhafel Salley Hite Mercer & Resor,
LLC COUNSEL FOR DEFENDANT-APPELLEE: Federated Mutual
Preuett-Armour Armour Law Firm, L.L.C. COUNSEL FOR
DEFENDANT-APPELLANT: State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance
M. Lafleur Stafford, Stewart & Potter COUNSEL FOR
DEFENDANT-APPELLANT: Cynthia Price
Benjamin T. Lowe Spencer H. Calahan Attorneys at Law COUNSEL
FOR PLAINTIFF-APPELLEE: Donald Paul Ardoin
composed of Elizabeth A. Pickett, Shannon J. Gremillion, and
John E. Conery, Judges.
ELIZABETH A. PICKETT JUDGE.
consolidated matters present the issue of whether a garage
liability insurance policy provided coverage to an automobile
(auto) dealership's customer when she was driving an auto
that the dealership loaned to her while it repaired her auto.
For the reasons discussed below, we affirm the trial
court's judgment granting summary judgment in favor of
the dealership's insurer and denying the customer's
insurer's motion for a declaratory judgment.
Ardoin filed suit on December 15, 2014, alleging that he was
injured in an accident that occurred when Cynthia Price
failed to stop the auto she was driving behind him at a stop
sign. Ms. Price was driving an auto owned by Southern
Chevrolet Cadillac, Inc. that it loaned to her while it
repaired her auto. Mr. Ardoin named Ms. Price and State Farm
Mutual Automobile Insurance Company, her insurer, as
defendants. Ms. Price filed a third-party demand against
Federated Mutual Insurance Company, alleging that it issued
an insurance policy which included garage liability coverage
to Southern Chevrolet and that under the terms of the policy,
Federated was obligated to defend her and provide her
Farm filed a motion and petition to obtain a judgment
declaring that Federated was obligated to provide Ms. Price a
defense and liability coverage for Mr. Ardoin's claim.
Ms. Price filed a memorandum supporting State Farm's
request for a declaratory judgment. Federated then filed a
motion for summary judgment, asserting that State Farm's
motion for declaratory judgment should be dismissed because
Federated's policy did not provide liability coverage to
April 16, 2018, the trial court held a hearing on the
insurers' competing motions. At the conclusion of the
hearing, the trial court denied State Farm's request for
a declaratory judgment and granted Federated's motion for
summary judgment. State Farm filed a writ application with
this court, seeking reversal of the trial court's denial
of its motion for declaratory judgment. It also appealed the
trial court's grant of summary judgment in favor of
Federated. The two matters were consolidated.
1. The trial court erred in failing to follow the prior Third
Circuit jurisprudence of Stanfield v. Hartford Accident
& Indemnity Co., 581 So.2d 340 (La.App. 3 Cir.
1991) and Hargrove v. Missouri [Pacific Railroad
Co.], 00-228 (La.App. 3 Cir. 01/10/2001), 780 So.2d 454,
when granting the Motion for Summary Judgment filed by
Federated Mutual Insurance Company.
2. The trial court failed to follow binding jurisprudence
from the Louisiana Supreme Court, namely, Marcus v.
Hanover [Insurance]. Co., [Inc.] 98-2040 (La.
06/04/1999), 740 So.2d 603, which requires that an automobile
liability policy follows the [auto], regardless of the type
of permissive operation of the ...