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Farmers Ins. Exch. v. Bradford

Court of Appeals of Arkansas, Division III

April 22, 2015

FARMERS INSURANCE EXCHANGE APPELLANT
v.
RAY BRADFORD, LANNA BRADFORD, AND JASON BRADFORD APPELLEES

APPEAL FROM THE INDEPENDENCE COUNTY CIRCUIT COURT. NO. CV-2011-038-4. HONORABLE TIM WEAVER, JUDGE.

Laser Law Firm, by: Brian A. Brown, for appellant. GLADWIN, C.J., and HARRISON, J., agree.

Blair & Stroud, by: H. David Blair, appellee Jason Bradford.

RAYMOND R. ABRAMSON, Judge. GLADWIN, C.J., and HARRISON, J., agree.

OPINION

Page 811

RAYMOND R. ABRAMSON, Judge

This is an appeal from the dismissal of a declaratory-judgment claim. On appeal, Farmers Insurance Exchange (" Farmers" ) argues that the circuit court erred when it declared that Ray and Lanna Bradford's homeowner's insurance policy with Farmers covered an accident involving a boom lift. We affirm.

Ray has a business of maintaining parking lots. In that business, Ray often changes light bulbs in light fixtures located on the lots, and to help him with this task, he purchased a JLG Model 450 articulated boom lift (" boom lift" ). A boom lift is a machine that elevates a platform. In this case, the boom lift can reach up to forty-five feet, and the platform's capacity is 500 pounds. It has a motor, four tires, and can be steered. It moves less than 4.5 miles per hour.

On October 2, 2010, Ray and his brother, Jason Bradford, were using the boom lift at Ray and Lanna's residence when the boom lift tipped over and Jason was injured. In response to the accident, a claim was filed under Ray and Lanna's homeowner's insurance policy issued by Farmers. Farmers then filed a declaratory-judgment complaint in the Independence County Circuit Court, asserting that Jason's injury was excluded from coverage because the boom lift came within the policy exclusion regarding injuries sustained in the operation or use of motor vehicles.[1] Ray and Lanna answered, denying that the policy exclusion applied. Jason also answered, denying that the exclusion applied and filing a counterclaim against Farmers.

The relevant sections of Ray and Lanna's policy with Farmers state:

DEFINITIONS

. . . .
17. Motor vehicle-means:
a. any self-propelled vehicle or any self-propelled machine, whether operable or not, which is designed for movement on land or on land and in water, including by way of example but not limited to any type of automobile, hovercraft, or air cushion vehicle;
b. parts, equipment, machinery, furnishings or accessories attached to or located in or upon such vehicle or machine ...

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