Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

Wallace v. State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Co.

Supreme Court of Maine

June 29, 2017

MATTHEW J. WALLACE et al.
v.
STATE FARM MUTUAL AUTOMOBILE INSURANCE COMPANY

          Argued: April 12, 2017

          Steven D. Silin, Esq., and Robert H. Furbish, Esq. (orally), Berman & Simmons, PA, Lewiston, for appellant Matthew J. Wallace

          Michael F. Vaillancourt, Esq., Ainsworth, Thelin & Raftice, P.A., South Portland, for appellant Freja Folce

          J. William Druary, Jr., Esq., and Gregory M. Patient, Esq. (orally), Marden, Dubord, Bernier & Stevens, PA LLC, Waterville, for appellee State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Company

          Panel: SAUFLEY, C.J., and ALEXANDER, MEAD, GORMAN, JABAR, and HJELM, JJ.

          REPORTER OF DECISIONS

          MEAD, J.

         [¶1] Matthew J. Wallace and Freja Folce[1] appeal from a summary judgment entered by the Superior Court (Cumberland County, Mills, J.) in favor of State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Company on their complaint seeking underinsured motorist (UM) payments from two policies issued by State Farm. The plaintiffs contend that the court erred in finding that the tortfeasor who injured them in a motor vehicle accident was not an underinsured driver pursuant to Maine's UM statute, and therefore there was no gap in coverage requiring State Farm to pay UM benefits. We affirm the judgment.

         I. FACTS AND PROCEDURE

         [¶2] For the purpose of deciding their respective motions for summary judgment, the parties stipulated to the following facts. On September 29, 2011, Matthew Wallace was driving south on Route 26 in Woodstock; Freja Folce and her minor daughter Zoe were passengers in the vehicle. Corey Hill, who was driving in the opposite direction in a vehicle owned by his employer, Twin Pines Construction, Inc., lost control while attempting to pass another vehicle, crossed the centerline, and collided with Wallace's vehicle. The accident was caused by Hill's negligence.

         [¶3] Hill was acting in the course and scope of his employment when the accident occurred. His Twin Pines vehicle was insured under a Safety Insurance Company policy that provided liability coverage of $50, 000 per person and $100, 000 per accident. Twin Pines was also insured under an excess policy issued by Alterra Excess Surplus Insurance Company providing $2, 000, 000 in excess commercial auto liability coverage; however, the Alterra policy required Twin Pines to maintain $1, 000, 000 in primary coverage, and provided that Alterra was liable only "to the extent that it would have been held liable had the insured complied" with that requirement. The policies issued to Twin Pines by Safety and Alterra were the only policies providing coverage to Twin Pines and Hill for the accident.

         [¶4] The plaintiffs were insured under a State Farm policy covering their vehicle; that policy provided UM coverage of $100, 000 per person and $300, 000 per accident. Wallace was also insured under a separate State Farm policy covering a different vehicle with the same UM coverage limits.

         [¶5] In August 2013, the plaintiffs filed complaints, which were later consolidated, against Twin Pines, Hill, and State Farm. After the plaintiffs settled with Twin Pines, Alterra paid its excess policy limits-$1, 000, 000 to Wallace and $1, 000, 000 to Freja Folce. Safety also paid its policy limits- $50, 000 to Freja Folce and $50, 000 for the benefit of Zoe. All claims against defendants other than State Farm were then dismissed with prejudice.

         [¶6] The plaintiffs and State Farm agreed for purposes of summary judgment that the plaintiffs' aggregate damages exceeded $100, 000-the per accident limit of Safety's primary policy-which would entitle the plaintiffs to UM benefits under the State Farm policies if State Farm were liable to pay UM benefits. The parties agreed to resolve the legal issue of State Farm's liability by summary judgment.

         [¶7] In May 2016, State Farm moved for summary judgment and the plaintiffs moved for partial summary judgment. By order dated August 8, 2016, the court denied the plaintiffs' motion and entered summary judgment for State Farm upon finding that "Defendant Hill was not an underinsured driver" at the time of the accident ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.