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Sanchez v. Sigur

Court of Appeals of Louisiana, Fifth Circuit

January 16, 2019

WILLIAM SANCHEZ AND AUDI GOMEZ
v.
HOLLI SIGUR, USAGENCIES CASUALTY INSURANCE COMPANY, AND LOUISIANA INSURANCE GUARANTY ASSOCIATION

          ON APPLICATION FOR SUPERVISORY REVIEW FROM THE SECOND PARISH COURT PARISH OF JEFFERSON, STATE OF LOUISIANA NO. 116-373, DIVISION "A" HONORABLE ROY M. CASCIO, JUDGE PRESIDING

          COUNSEL FOR DEFENDANT/RELATOR, LOUISIANA INSURANCE GUARANTY ASSOCIATION Stephanie B. Laborde Benjamin M. Chapman J. Jacob Chapman

          COUNSEL FOR PLAINTIFF/RESPONDENT, WILLIAM SANCHEZ AND AUDI GOMEZ Ryan A. Creel Ivan A. Orihuela.

          COUNSEL FOR DEFENDANT/RESPONDENT, HOLLI SIGUR James F. Ryan.

          Panel composed of Judges Fredericka Homberg Wicker, Robert A. Chaisson, and John J. Molaison, Jr.

          JOHN J. MOLAISON, JR. JUDGE

         Relator, Louisiana Insurance Guaranty Association ("LIGA")[1] seeks review of the trial court's denial of its motion for summary judgment on the issue of whether its predecessor in interest, Affirmative Casualty Insurance Company ("ACIC") had issued an automobile liability insurance policy for defendant, Holli Sigur, that was in effect at the time of the September 8, 2012 automobile accident, which forms the basis of the instant lawsuit.

         FACTS

         The application before us indicates that on June 9, 2012, Holli Sigur began the process of purchasing an automobile liability insurance policy through ACIC which was doing business as USAgencies Casualty Insurance Company, Inc. ("USAgencies"). On that date, Sigur tendered an amount of $177.14 via credit card, which was classified as "Premium and Fees" on the receipt generated by USAgencies. The "Declarations" sheet for the policy detailed that the total cost for the policy was $1066.00, which consisted of a $1026.00 "Premium" and a $40.00 "Policy Fee." The first page of the policy, in the "Agreement" section of the document, stated, "If you pay your premium we agree to insure you subject to all the terms of this Policy for the coverage up to the Limits of Liability as indicated on the declarations page of this Policy." Additionally, under the "Cancellation or Non-Renewal Provisions" section, it provided:

We may cancel this Policy within the first sixty (60) days from the effective date of the insurance policy by mailing notice of cancellation to you at the address shown on the declarations page:
1. At least ten (10) days notice, if cancellation is for nonpayment of premium.
2. At least thirty (30) days notice, via mail, in all other cases.

         According to LIGA, the September 26, 2014 affidavit of Jose Sergio Vidal[2]and attachments thereto, establish that Sigur "selected to finance her premiums via LIFCO through a consumer insurance premium finance agreement which included six (6) equal monthly installments due on the 18th of every month with her first installment due beginning June 18, 2012." On June 11, 2012, after Sigur did not return the completed insurance application and finance agreement, USAgencies mailed a 30 Day Notice of Cancellation to Sigur's home address, pursuant to LSA-R.S. 22:1266. The notice advised Sigur that the policy was being cancelled due to her failure to complete and return the policy application documents, and that the cancellation would be effective in 30 days on July 11, 2012, at 12:01 a.m.

         Next, when Sigur did not pay the first installment of her policy premium, USAgencies, pursuant to La. R.S. 22:1266, mailed a Notice of Cancellation (formally referred to as a "10 day notice") to her home address on June 18, 2012. The 10-day notice advised Sigur that the policy was being cancelled due to nonpayment of the premium and that the cancellation would be effective in 10 days, on June 28, 2012, at 12:01 a.m. The 10 day notice further advised Sigur that she could avoid cancellation by payment of the outstanding balance prior to the cancellation date, and the notice also reminded Sigur that she had the option of financing the remaining balance of the premium through LIFCO.

         It is not disputed that Sigur never returned a completed insurance application or a completed consumer insurance finance agreement to USAgencies. It is also not contested that Sigur never paid an additional amount to USAgencies beyond the initial credit card transaction of $177.14 on June 9, 2012.

         The accident at issue occurred on September 8, 2012, nearly two months after the latest date of the cancellation of Sigur's policy.

         PROCEDURAL HISTORY

         The plaintiffs' petition, filed in September of 2013, named Sigur, USAgencies and LIGA as defendants in the instant action. On February 26, 2018, LIGA filed a Motion for Summary Judgment asserting that the USAgencies auto liability policy previously issued to Sigur had been cancelled prior to the September 8, 2012 accident. Attachments to LIGA's motion for summary judgment, identified in the writ application as "Exhibit H," included a true copy of the declaration page issued to Sigur, [3] a payment receipt, a Louisiana Auto Insurance Identification Card with an effective date of June 9, 2012, an Application for Personal Automobile Insurance dated June 9, 2012, a Consumer Insurance Premium Finance Agreement, a 30-Day Cancellation Notice dated June 11, 2012, an affidavit styled "proof of mailing," a complete copy of the Louisiana Private Passenger Auto Policy, and a 10-day cancellation notice dated June 18, 2012.

         Plaintiffs did not file an opposition responsive to LIGA's motion for summary judgment, instead relying on its opposition to USAgencies own motion for summary judgment, which was previously filed before LIGA's intervention.[4]Plaintiffs ...


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