Summary Judgment For Insurance Company In Gun Fight/Car Chase Case
Lee Weatherly and Kristen Thompson obtained summary judgment in Charleston, South Carolina in favor of an insurance company that provided uninsured/underinsured motorist benefits. The underlying case involved a car chase that resulted in a gun fight and the death of one of the drivers. The estate for the deceased-driver filed suit against the alleged shooters (who did not have auto insurance) or in the alternative, John Doe. The Plaintiff’s estate then made a claim to the insurance for the benefits of an underinsured/uninsured motorist policy held by the owner of the car that he was driving when he was shot and killed.
Lee and Kristen filed a separate declaratory judgment action to determine if the deceased could claim uninsured/underinsured coverage under this insurance policy. Lee and Kristen filed for summary judgment arguing that there was no coverage under the policy on two grounds: (1) The driver of the vehicle did not have express or implied permission from the vehicle’s owner to operate the vehicle, and (2) The accident did not arise out of the normal use of an automobile. Plaintiff argued the driver had implied permissive use through the vehicle owner and named insured’s daughter. Plaintiff alternatively argued that the use of the automobile was an active accessory in the shoot-out and thus did arise out of the normal use of an automobile. The court agreed with Lee and Kristen that the deceased driver did not have express or implied permission to operate the vehicle and granted summary judgment that no coverage was afforded under the policy.