Bill Orberson and Tricia Le Meur successfully pursued an appeal of a Court of Appeals decision requiring Encompass to provide coverage for injuries arising from the Plaintiff’s use of a motorcycle that he insured with a different company. The plaintiff in this case separately insured his vehicles, two cars and a motorcycle, with three different insurance companies. He was injured while riding his motorcycle and sought underinsured motorists (UIM) from all three insurers. Encompass, which insured one of the plaintiff’s cars, disputed coverage based on its clear policy provision excluding UIM coverage for the plaintiff’s use of another vehicle owned by him but not insured under the Encompass agreement (typically referred to as a “regular use exclusion”). Kentucky’s Supreme Court, reversed the Court of Appeals, holding that UIM coverage exclusions such as this are permissible under Kentucky law. Specifically with respect to Encompass, the Court held that its UIM regular use exclusion was “a clear and unambiguous statement that the policy does not pay benefits for vehicles it does not insure,” and that the plaintiff did not have any reasonable expectation of coverage for his motorcycle accident from his Encompass policy insuring only his car.
The Court of Appeals in this case determined that the Claims Against Local Governments Act (CALGA) does not obligate local governments to defend or indemnify employees for actions outside the scope of their employment. Bill Orberson and Tricia Le Meur represented Louisville Metro in this matter stemming from a motor vehicle accident in which an off-duty police officer was operating a police take-home vehicle. Pursuant to the agreement governing use of the take-home vehicle, the City provided $100,000 in liability coverage for the officers’ off-duty vehicle use. The Circuit Court granted summary judgment in favor of the plaintiffs, holding that the officer’s off-duty compliance with standard operating procedures (SOPs) brought him within the scope of employment and triggered the City’s duty to provide unlimited indemnification pursuant to CALGA. The Court of Appeals reversed, holding that this was an untenable expansion of Louisville Metro’s duties, in contravention of clear statutory language. It specifically rejected the contentions that officers participating in a take-home vehicle program always act within the scope of their employment, no matter how personal their off-duty actions or how miniscule the benefit to their employer. The Court of Appeals remanded the case with instructions to enter judgment in favor of Louisville Metro.
The subject accident occurred on I-65, after the co-defendant swerved into our client’s lane and was struck in the rear by our client’s truck. The co-defendant then struck the Plaintiff, a commercial truck-driver, who was changing a tire on the shoulder. The Plaintiff claimed damages in excess of $1,000,000 for mild traumatic brain injury, PTSD, and herniated discs in his lower-back. On the second day of trial, but before the Plaintiff closed his case, Bill and Jane successfully moved for a directed verdict, arguing that the Plaintiff had failed to prove, and could not prove, any breach of duty against our client.
This was Bill’s 4th career directed verdict.
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