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Galipeau v. State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Co.

Superior Court of Maine, Kennebec

December 30, 2014

JUDITH M. GALIPEAU, Personal Representative of the ESTATE OF PAUL R. GALIPEAU, Plaintiff,
v.
STATE FARM MUTUAL AUTOMOBILE INSURANCE COMPANY, Defendant.

ORDER ON DEFENDANT'S MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT AND PLAINTIFF'S MOTION FOR PARTIAL SUMMARY JUDGMENT

Michaela Murphy, Justice Maine Superior Court

Defendant State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Company ("State Farm") issued four insurance policies in which Paul R. Galipeau was a named insured. Def.'s S.M.F. ¶¶ 3, 15-18. Each insurance policy had a $100, 000 uninsured motorist ("UM") coverage limit. Id. On August 15, 2012, Mr. Galipeau was fatally injured while operating his motorcycle-a 1998 Harley Davidson FXSTC cruiser-in an accident that involved a vehicle driven by non-party James Mitton. Id. at ¶¶ 1-2, 4.

Plaintiff Judith M. Galipeau, as personal representative of Mr. Galipeau's estate, (the "Estate") brought suit against Mr. Mitton alleging his negligence proximately caused Mr. Galipeau's death. Id. at ¶ 6; PL's S.M.F. ¶ 6. Mr. Mitton carried $50, 000 in liability insurance with GEICO. Def.'s S.M.F. ¶ 5. The Estate settled the negligence case with Mr. Mitton for his $50, 000 policy limit, with State Farm's knowledge and consent. Id. at ¶ 6; PL's S.M.F. ¶ 6. Subsequently, State Farm paid $50, 000 to the Estate under the policy issued for Mr. Galipeau's motorcycle. Def.'s S.M.F. ¶ 9. This amount represented the difference between the $100, 000 in UM coverage provided by that policy and the $50, 000 the Estate collected from Mr. Mitton's liability coverage. Id.

In the present action, the Estate seeks coverage under the three non-motorcycle insurance policies and damages arising out of State Farm's denial of coverage under said policies. Complaint, ¶¶ 7-13.[1] State Farm moves for summary judgment arguing that the "other-owned vehicle" exclusions in the non-motorcycle policies bar coverage for Mr. Galipeau's bodily injury under said policies. State Farm also argues summary judgment is warranted because under the anti-stacking provision, present in all four policies, the Estate reached its coverage limitation. In support of this argument, State Farm argues that the Galipeaus were clearly and unambiguously notified that pursuant to a new policy form, their coverage was subject to the anti-stacking provision.

The Estate opposes State Farm's motion for summary judgment and files its own motion for partial summary judgment arguing that the other-owned vehicle exclusions are inconsistent with Maine's UM statute and should be held unenforceable in any context, let alone here where the insured paid premiums under each of the four policies. The Estate also argues that the anti-stacking provisions were not properly added to the Galipeaus policies and that, in any event, they are unenforceable because they have the effect of impermissibly leaving the non-motorcycle policies void of statutorily required UM coverage.

For the reasons discussed below, the court grants State Farm's motion for summary judgment against the Estate's complaint because the other-owned vehicle exclusion bars coverage to the Galipeaus under the non-motorcycle policies. Since coverage under the non-motorcycle policies does not exist, the court need not address the parties' arguments regarding the effect of the anti-stacking provision as that provision is premised on the existence of coverage.

I. Factual Background

As discussed, Mr. Galipeau was fatally injured on August 15, 2012 while operating his motorcycle in an accident with Mr. Mitton. Def.'s S.M.F. ¶¶ 1-2, 4. Thereafter, the Estate sued Mr. Mitton claiming his negligence proximately caused Mr. Galipeau's death. Id. at ¶ 6; PL's S.M.F. ¶ 6. The Estate settled with Mr. Mitton-with the knowledge and consent of State Farm-for $50, 000, the limit of Mr. Mitton's liability insurance. Def.'s S.M.F. ¶¶ 5-6; PL's S.M.F. ¶ 6.

At the time of the accident Mr. Galipeau was a named insured on four motor vehicle liability policies issued by State Farm:

Policy Number

Effective Date

Vehicle Insured

Uninsured Motorist Coverage Limit

007-1073-B06-19C

August 6, 2011

1998Harley Davidson FXSTC Cruiser

$100, 000

012-0919-A01-19P

January 1, 2011

2006 Ford F-350 Pick-Up Truck

$100, 000

008-7061-A10-19E

January 10, 2011

2011 Toyota Camry

$100, 000

029-6334-D10-19F

April 10, 2011

2002 Ford F-250 Pick-Up Truck

$100, 000

Def.'s S.M.F. ¶¶ 3, 15-18. Policy Numbers 012-0919-A01-19P, 008-7061-A10-19E, and 029-6334-D10-19F constitute the "non-motorcycle policies, " while Policy Number 007- 1073-B06-19C constitutes the "motorcycle policy."

As demonstrated in the table above, each policy insured a single vehicle, and provided UM coverage with a per person coverage limit of $100, 000. Id. at ¶¶ 3, 7. When initially issued, the terms of the policies were contained, inter alia, in the State Farm Car Policy, Policy Form 9819A ("Policy Form 9819A"). Id. at K 28. In 2011, State Farm decided to modify Policy Form 9819A, and issued the new State Farm Car Policy Booklet, Policy Form 9819B ("Policy Form 9819B"). Id. at ¶¶ 11, 27, 37. At the time of Mr. Galipeau's accident, the terms of the policies were contained, inter alia, in Policy Form 9819B. Id. at ¶ 11. For the purposes of this dispute, the policies were the same after the institution of Policy Form 9819B except for a new "anti-stacking" provision. See id. at ¶¶ 29-31.

The Estate demanded payment of $350, 000 from State Farm, equaling the aggregate of the UM coverage limit contained in each of the four State Farm policies, less the $50, 000 the Estate collected from the liability coverage of Mr. Mitton. Id. at ¶ 8. State Farm paid $50, 000 to the Estate under policy number 007-1073-B06-19C-the policy issued for Mr. Galipeau's motorcycle-representing the difference between the $100, 000 in UM coverage provided by that policy and the $50, 000 the Estate collected from Mr. Mitton's liability coverage. Id. at ΒΆ 9. The Estate now seeks $300, 000 in UM coverage benefits under the ...


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