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Patel v. LM General Insurance Co.

United States Court of Appeals, Eighth Circuit

May 3, 2019

Ripal Patel Plaintiff - Appellant
v.
LM General Insurance Company Defendant - Appellee

          Submitted: January 15, 2019

          Appeal from United States District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri - St. Louis

          Before LOKEN, GRASZ, and STRAS, Circuit Judges.

          LOKEN, CIRCUIT JUDGE.

         The issue presented by this appeal is whether the widow of Maulik Patel, the victim of a drive-by shooting while sitting in his car at a traffic light, may recover damages under the Uninsured Motorists (UM) Coverage provisions of the automobile liability policy issued to the Patels by LM General Insurance Company. The district court[1] granted summary judgment for LM General, concluding there was no UM coverage because any liability of the uninsured motorist and his occupants to Patel did not "arise out of the use" of the uninsured motor vehicle. "Maulik's injury was not caused by an uninsured vehicle," the district court explained; "the shots just happened to come from an uninsured vehicle." Applying Missouri law, we affirm.

         After the drive-by shooting, Maulik's widow, Ripal, sued LM General to recover the Policy's UM coverage limits, $250, 000. In submitting LM General's motion for summary judgment, the parties agreed the following facts are undisputed:

"On January 11, 2016, Maulik . . . was killed by gun fire while stopped in traffic . . . near Goodfellow Boulevard and Interstate 70 in St. Louis, Missouri."
"The occupants of an unknown vehicle fired several shots from the unknown vehicle, hitting Maulik and his 2011 Hyundai Sonata. Maulik exited his vehicle and was shot again outside of the vehicle."
The Policy provides UM coverage limits of $250, 000 for each person. Both Maulik and Ripal are "insureds" under the UM Coverage part.
"The unidentified vehicle that the shooters occupied never hit or otherwise made physical contact with Maulik or his vehicle."

         The parties agree that Missouri law governs the UM coverage issue in this diversity action. The Missouri insurance statutes provide in relevant part:

No automobile liability insurance covering liability arising out of the ownership, maintenance, or use of any motor vehicle shall be delivered or issued . . . unless coverage is provided [in not less than required minimum limits] for the protection of persons insured thereunder who are legally entitled to recover damages from owners or operators of uninsured motor vehicles because of bodily injury . . . resulting therefrom.

Mo. Rev. Stat. § 379.203(1). Consistent with this statute, LM General's Policy issued to Maulik and Ripal Patel included a UM Coverage part:

         INSURING ...


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