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Williams v. Mosley

Court of Appeals of Louisiana, First Circuit

January 9, 2020

JOSHUA WILLIAMS
v.
MARCUS TARELL MOSLEY AND PROGRESSIVE SECURITY INSURANCE COMPANY

          APPEALED FROM THE NINETEENTH JUDICIAL DISTRICT COURT IN AND FOR THE PARISH OF EAST BATON ROUGE STATE OF LOUISIANA DOCKET NUMBER 669, 473, SECTION 26 HONORABLE RICHARD "CHIP" MOORE, JUDGE

          Steve Adams Baton Rouge, Louisiana Attorney for Plaintiff/Appellant Joshua Williams

          Brittany M. Courtenay Metairie, Louisiana Attorney for Defendant/Appellee Progressive Security Insurance Company

          BEFORE: McDONALD, THERIOT, AND CHUTZ, JJ.

          McDONALD, J.

         This is an appeal of a trial court judgment granting summary judgment and dismissing a driver's suit against the automobile owner's insurer for UM coverage. After review, we affirm.

         FACTS AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY

         On May 20, 2017, Joshua Williams (Mr. Williams) was driving a 2017 Infinity Q6-0, owned by Lionel Williams, westbound on Hollywood Street in Baton Rouge when he was rear-ended by Marcus Mosley (Mr. Mosley), who was driving a 2007 Chevrolet Impala owned by Oliver Mosley. Mr. Mosley was uninsured. Lionel Williams was insured by Progressive Security Insurance Company (Progressive).

         On May 17, 2018, Mr. Williams filed suit against Mr. Mosley and Progressive. Progressive answered the suit and asserted that it provided liability insurance to Lionel Williams; however, it did not provide uninsured/underinsured motorist (UM) coverage to Mr. Williams at the time of the accident as it had been properly rejected on the policy. Progressive also asserted alternative defenses.

         Thereafter, Progressive filed a motion for summary judgment, asserting that it did not provide UM coverage to Mr. Williams on the date of the accident, as the UM coverage had been validly rejected. In support of its motion for summary judgment, Progressive attached to its memorandum the following exhibits: the affidavit of Debra Henry, litigation underwriting specialist and records custodian for Progressive, attesting that Lionel Williams had rejected UM coverage on Progressive policy 30206778; a certified copy of the declarations page and Progressive policy 30206778 issued to Lionel Williams; and an executed UM bodily injury coverage form initialed and signed by Lionel Williams.

         Mr. Williams filed an opposition to Progressive's motion for summary judgment. He attached to his memorandum the following exhibits: the affidavit of Lionel Williams, stating that he signed the UM rejection form but did not enter his printed name or the date on the form; Commissioner of Insurance Bulletin No. 08-02; and the Progressive policy 30206778 declarations pages.

         The motion for summary judgment was heard by the trial court on November 5, 2018, and at the conclusion of the hearing the trial court granted summary judgment in favor of Progressive. On December 3, 2018, the trial court signed a judgment granting summary judgment in favor of Progressive and dismissing the suit against Progressive with prejudice. Mr. Williams appealed the judgment. Mr. Williams makes two assignments of error on appeal. In his first assignment of error, he maintains that the trial court erred in determining that Lionel Williams's addition of seven vehicles to the Progressive policy over a period of nine months did not require the execution of a new UM bodily insurance coverage form. In his second assignment of error, he maintains that the trial court erred in granting summary judgment and dismissing the case because Lionel Williams did not print his name or enter the date on the UM bodily injury coverage form and because there was no proof that those two sections of the form were completed before Lionel Williams signed it.

         STANDARD OF REVIEW

         In determining whether summary judgment is appropriate, appellate courts review summary judgment de novo under the same criteria that govern the trial court's determination of whether summary judgment is appropriate. Sanders v. Ashland Oil, Inc., 96-1751 (La.App. 1st Cir. 6/20/97), 696 So.2d 1031, 1035, writ denied, 97-1911 (La. 10/31/97), 703 So.2d 29. Because it is the applicable substantive law that determines materiality, whether a particular fact in dispute is material can be seen only in light of the substantive law applicable to the case. Loui ...


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