Babcock v. Farmers Ins. Exchange, No. 99-656.

Docket NºNo. 99-656.
Citation2000 MT 114, 999 P.2d 347
Case DateMay 04, 2000
CourtUnited States State Supreme Court of Montana

999 P.2d 347
2000 MT 114

Kella BABCOCK, Plaintiff and Appellant,
v.
FARMERS INSURANCE EXCHANGE, Defendant and Respondent

No. 99-656.

Supreme Court of Montana.

Submitted on Briefs March 30, 2000.

Decided May 4, 2000.


999 P.2d 348
Christian T. Nygren; Milodragovich, Dale, Steinbrenner & Binney, Missoula, Montana, For Appellant

William R. Bieler; Williams & Ranney, Missoula, Montana, For Respondent.

Justice W. WILLIAM LEAPHART delivered the Opinion of the Court.

¶ 1 Appellant Kella Babcock (Babcock) appeals from the order of the Fourth Judicial District Court, Missoula County, granting summary judgment in favor of Respondent Farmers Insurance Exchange (Farmers).

¶ 2 We affirm.

¶ 3 The following issue is presented on appeal:

¶ 4 Whether the District Court correctly concluded that the liability portion of Babcock's insurance policy did not provide coverage for a horse trailer.

Standard of Review

¶ 5 The interpretation of an insurance contract is a question of law. See Stutzman v. Safeco Ins. Co. of America (1997), 284 Mont. 372, 376, 945 P.2d 32, 34. We review a district court's conclusions of law de novo to determine whether they are correct. See Steer, Inc. v. Dept. Of Revenue (1990), 245 Mont. 470, 474-75, 803 P.2d 601, 603. Our standard of review in appeals from grants of summary judgment is de novo. See Meyer v. Creative Nail Design, Inc., 1999 MT 74, ¶ 13, 294 Mont. 46, ¶ 13, 975 P.2d 1264, ¶ 13. To be granted summary judgment, the "moving party has the burden of showing a complete absence of any genuine issue as to all facts considered material in light of the substantive principles that entitle the moving party to judgment as a matter of law and all reasonable inferences are to be drawn in favor of the party opposing summary judgment." Kolar v. Bergo (1996), 280 Mont. 262, 266, 929 P.2d 867, 869.

Factual and Procedural Background

¶ 6 The parties have stipulated to the following facts. Babcock purchased insurance for her Ford truck from Farmers. In August, 1997 Babcock borrowed a neighbor's horse trailer and attached it to her truck. Her truck's trailerball had a diameter of two inches. However, the trailer she borrowed had a hitch that required a two and 5/8ths inch diameter ball. Babcock attempted to tow the trailer with her truck's two-inch trailerball. While she drove on highway 12, the trailer came unhooked, left the road, and struck a fence. The trailer and fence were damaged.

¶ 7 Farmers paid Babcock for the full cost of the fence's repair. Babcock requested that Farmers also pay for damage to the horse trailer that she estimated at $4,500. Farmers paid $500 toward the trailer, that amount constituting her policy's limit for collision and comprehensive coverage.

¶ 8 In June, 1998 Babcock brought suit in Justice Court, claiming that Farmers was required to pay for the damage to the horse trailer under the provisions of her liability coverage. The Justice Court granted summary judgment in favor of Babcock. Farmers appealed that decision to District Court. The District Court sua sponte determined that the case was appropriate for summary judgment and granted summary judgment in favor of Farmers, concluding that the "plain and ordinary language of the policy's exclusions to liability prevents coverage for damage to the horse trailer beyond the express limitation." From that judgment and order Babcock appeals.

Discussion

¶ 9 Whether the District Court correctly concluded that the liability portion of Babcock's

999 P.2d 349
insurance policy did not provide coverage for a horse trailer

¶ 10 Babcock's policy with Farmers provided in pertinent part:

Exclusions
This coverage does not apply to:
. . . .
7. Damage to property owned or being transported by an insured person.
8. Damage to property rented to, or in the charge of, an insured person except a residence or private garage not owned by that person.

¶ 11...

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19 practice notes
  • Samson v. Cincinnati Ins. Co. (In re Blixseth), Case No. 09-60452-7
    • United States
    • United States Bankruptcy Courts. Ninth Circuit. U.S. Bankruptcy Court — District of Montana
    • March 12, 2012
    ...P.3d 236 (citing Cusenbary v. U.S. Fidelity and Guar. Co., 2001 MT 261, ¶ 9, 307 Mont. 238, 37 P.3d 67; Babcock v. Farmers Ins. Exchange, 2000 MT 114, ¶ 5, 299 Mont. 407, 999 P.2d 347). When a court reviews an insurance policy, it is bound to interpret its terms according to their usual, co......
  • Samson v. Cincinnati Ins. Co. (In re Blixseth), Bankruptcy No. 09–60452–7.
    • United States
    • United States Bankruptcy Courts. Ninth Circuit. U.S. Bankruptcy Court — District of Montana
    • March 12, 2012
    ...P.3d 236 (citing Cusenbary v. U.S. Fidelity and Guar. Co., 2001 MT 261, ¶ 9, 307 Mont. 238, 37 P.3d 67;Babcock v. Farmers Ins. Exchange, 2000 MT 114, ¶ 5, 299 Mont. 407, 999 P.2d 347). When a court reviews an insurance policy, it is bound to interpret its terms according to their usual, com......
  • Mattson v. Montana Power Co., No. DA 07-0353.
    • United States
    • Montana United States State Supreme Court of Montana
    • August 25, 2009
    ...a district court's conclusions of law de novo to determine whether those conclusions are correct. Babcock v. Farmers Insurance Exchange, 2000 MT 114, ¶ 5, 299 Mont. 407, 999 P.2d ¶ 16 An easement is a nonpossessory interest in land—a right which one person has to use the land of another for......
  • Blake v. State Farm Mut. Auto. Ins. Co., No. 34725.
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of West Virginia
    • November 2, 2009
    ...but rather damages to property being transported by Delatte[.] Reid, 934 So.2d at 61; see Babcock v. Farmers Ins. Exch., 299 Mont. 407, 999 P.2d 347 (2000) (finding no ambiguity in policy that contained express language that liability coverage was not applicable to property "in the charge o......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
19 cases
  • Samson v. Cincinnati Ins. Co. (In re Blixseth), Case No. 09-60452-7
    • United States
    • United States Bankruptcy Courts. Ninth Circuit. U.S. Bankruptcy Court — District of Montana
    • March 12, 2012
    ...P.3d 236 (citing Cusenbary v. U.S. Fidelity and Guar. Co., 2001 MT 261, ¶ 9, 307 Mont. 238, 37 P.3d 67; Babcock v. Farmers Ins. Exchange, 2000 MT 114, ¶ 5, 299 Mont. 407, 999 P.2d 347). When a court reviews an insurance policy, it is bound to interpret its terms according to their usual, co......
  • Samson v. Cincinnati Ins. Co. (In re Blixseth), Bankruptcy No. 09–60452–7.
    • United States
    • United States Bankruptcy Courts. Ninth Circuit. U.S. Bankruptcy Court — District of Montana
    • March 12, 2012
    ...P.3d 236 (citing Cusenbary v. U.S. Fidelity and Guar. Co., 2001 MT 261, ¶ 9, 307 Mont. 238, 37 P.3d 67;Babcock v. Farmers Ins. Exchange, 2000 MT 114, ¶ 5, 299 Mont. 407, 999 P.2d 347). When a court reviews an insurance policy, it is bound to interpret its terms according to their usual, com......
  • Mattson v. Montana Power Co., No. DA 07-0353.
    • United States
    • Montana United States State Supreme Court of Montana
    • August 25, 2009
    ...a district court's conclusions of law de novo to determine whether those conclusions are correct. Babcock v. Farmers Insurance Exchange, 2000 MT 114, ¶ 5, 299 Mont. 407, 999 P.2d ¶ 16 An easement is a nonpossessory interest in land—a right which one person has to use the land of another for......
  • Blake v. State Farm Mut. Auto. Ins. Co., No. 34725.
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of West Virginia
    • November 2, 2009
    ...but rather damages to property being transported by Delatte[.] Reid, 934 So.2d at 61; see Babcock v. Farmers Ins. Exch., 299 Mont. 407, 999 P.2d 347 (2000) (finding no ambiguity in policy that contained express language that liability coverage was not applicable to property "in the charge o......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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