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Southern Farm Bureau Casualty Insurance Co. v. Shelter Mutual Insurance Co.

Court of Appeals of Arkansas, Division III

November 30, 2016

SOUTHERN FARM BUREAU CASUALTY INSURANCE COMPANY APPELLANT
v.
SHELTER MUTUAL INSURANCE COMPANY AND TOMMY ROBERSON APPELLEES

         APPEAL FROM THE ASHLEY COUNTY CIRCUIT COURT [NO. 02CV-15-82-3] HONORABLE ROBERT BYNUM GIBSON, JR., JUDGE

         REVERSED ON DIRECT APPEAL; CROSS-APPEAL RENDERED MOOT

          Turner Law Firm, P.A., by: Andy L. Turner and Ben C. Hall, for appellant.

          Matthew, Sanders & Sayes, by: Roy Gene Sanders, for appellee.

          ROBERT J. GLADWIN, Chief Judge

         The Ashley County Circuit Court considered competing motions for summary judgment from Southern Farm Bureau Casualty Insurance Company (Farm Bureau) and Shelter Mutual Insurance Company (Shelter) and ordered that they were equally liable for uninsured motorist (UM) coverage. On appeal, Farm Bureau argues that the trial court erred in holding that there was coverage under its policy, and on cross-appeal, Shelter contends that, while the trial court correctly determined that there was coverage under the Farm Bureau policy, it erred in finding the coverage should be divided equally instead of by pro rata distribution as set forth in Shelter's policy. We reverse on direct appeal, thereby holding that the issue on cross-appeal is moot.

         I. Facts

         Tommy Roberson was driving a vehicle owned by a third party when it was rear-ended by an uninsured vehicle, forcing his car into the back of the vehicle in front of him. Roberson was insured by Farm Bureau, and the car he was driving was insured by Shelter. Having been injured in the accident, Roberson filed a lawsuit seeking damages from both insurance companies under their UM provisions. Shelter settled the matter with Roberson, obtained a release for itself and Farm Bureau in exchange for $6000, and left it for the trial court to decide the respective liabilities of the two insurers.

         Shelter filed a motion for summary judgment claiming that both it and Farm Bureau provided UM coverage for the accident. Shelter argued that its policy provided that when a claim is covered by UM insurance by another company, then Shelter's coverage would apply only as excess over all other such insurance. Further, Shelter's policy coverage would be applied in a pro rata manner if it were impossible to reconcile the provisions of other applicable policies. Shelter's policy provides uninsured-motor-vehicle-liability coverage in Part IV-Coverage E as follows:

Subject to all conditions, exclusions, and limitations of our liability, stated in this policy, we will pay damages that an Insured, or an Insured's legal representative, is legally entitled to recover from the owner or operator of an uninsured motor vehicle because of an occurrence that arose out of the ownership or use of that uninsured motor vehicle.
. . . Insured means an individual included in one of the following categories: CATEGORY A:
(a) You;
(b) Relatives; and
(c) Individuals listed in the Declarations as an "additional listed insured" who do not own a motor vehicle, and whose spouse does ...

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