Beta Eta House Corp. v. Gregory, No. M--241

CourtCourt of Appeal of Florida (US)
Writing for the CourtWIGGINTON; CARROLL, DONALD K., Acting C.J., and SPECTOR
Citation230 So.2d 495
Decision Date20 January 1970
Docket NumberNo. M--241
PartiesBETA ETA HOUSE CORPORATION, Inc. of Tallahassee, Florida, a nonprofit Florida corporation, and General Accident Fire and Life Insurance Company, Limited, a foreign corporation, Petitioners, v. William E. GREGORY, a minor, by his mother and next friend, Lucy A. Gregory, and Lucy A. Gregory, individually, Respondents.

Page 495

230 So.2d 495
BETA ETA HOUSE CORPORATION, Inc. of Tallahassee, Florida, a nonprofit Florida corporation, and General Accident Fire and Life Insurance Company, Limited, a foreign corporation, Petitioners,
v.
William E. GREGORY, a minor, by his mother and next friend, Lucy A. Gregory, and Lucy A. Gregory, individually, Respondents.
No. M--241.
District Court of Appeal of Florida, First District.
Jan. 20, 1970.

Page 496

H. O. Pemberton, E. Harper Field, and Helen C. Ellis, of Keen, O'Kelley & Spitz, Tallahassee, for petitioners.

Henderson, Buchanan & Sapp, Panama City, and Podhurst & Orseck, Miami, for respondents.

WIGGINTON, Judge.

Petitioners seek review by certiorari of an order rendered in a common law action by which the trial court denied petitioner General Accident Fire and Life Insurance Company's motion to dismiss the complaint as to it because of its failure to state a cause of action.

Interlocutory appeals from orders rendered in common law actions are not permitted except as to certain types of orders specified by the rule. 1 The order which is the subject of attack in the case sub judice is not of the type of which an interlocutory appeal is permitted. Nevertheless, under the circumstances hereinafter shown it is our view that the order, if erroneous, constitutes a departure from the essential requirements of law and will cause material injury to the petitioners throughout the remainder of the proceedings for which there will be no adequate remedy by appeal after judgment. For this reason we will in the exercise of our discretion entertain jurisdiction and proceed to consider and pass upon the merits of the case. 2

Respondent has filed a complaint at law alleging that he suffered personal injuries when he tripped and fell on a concrete sidewalk while lawfully on the premises owned by petitioner, Beta Eta House Corporation, Inc.; that his damages resulted from the negligence of the House Corporation by its failure to maintain the premises in a reasonably safe condition as a proximate cause of which he was injured. Money judgment is sought against petitioner House Corporation for the damages suffered by respondent. Joined as an additional defendant is petitioner, General Accident Fire and Life Insurance Comapny, Limited. The complaint alleges that the company issued its policy of insurance to the House Corporation by which the latter was insured against loss. Although the allegations of the complaint do not specifically so state, parties by their briefs appear to concede without dispute that the insurance policy in question includes a premises liability insurance clause by which the company agrees to pay on behalf of the House Corporation all sums for which the latter may become legally obligated to pay as damages because of the negligent maintenance or operation of the premises. Our consideration will be premised upon this concession. General Accident filed its motion to dismiss the complaint on the ground that it failed to state a cause of action against it. From the order denying this motion both petitioners have filed their petition for certiorari contending the ruling to be an erroneous departure from the essential requirements of law.

The sole question presented for our decision is whether a premises liability insurer may be joined as an additional defendant in an action brought against its insured for damages proximately caused by the latter's negligence. A similar question was presented to and decided by this court in

Page 497

the case of Bussey v. Shingleton. 3 The only material distinction between the Bussey case and the one sub judice is that in the former the insurance contract there construed was an automobile liability insurance policy, whereas the contract in this case is a premises liability insurance policy providing insurance against loss suffered by the insured as a result of the negligent maintenance or operation of its premises.

In Bussey we held that because of several factors not theretofore considered by the courts of Florida in passing upon the question involved, an automobile liability insurance carrier was a real party in interest in every suit brought by an injured third party against an insured policyholder within the purview and meaning of Rule 1.210(a), Florida Rules of Civil Procedure, 30 F.S.A., and could therefore be properly joined as an additional party defendant in any such action. In our consideration of the case we took into account the provisions of the standard automobile liability insurance policy which grants to the insurer the right to control all claims arising under the policy, as well as all litigation, both trial and appellate, ensuing therefrom. We furthermore took into account the results of a former proceeding pursued in the Supreme Court of this state in which the automobile liability insurance carriers doing business in Florida took the firm and unequivocal position that they were real parties in interest in all litigation brought against their insureds under the terms and provisions of standard automobile liability insurance policies issued and sold by them. Secondarily, we held that automobile liability insurance policies, by their very nature, constituted quasi-third party beneficiary contracts intended for the protection of third persons who suffered damage as a result of the negligence of those insured by such policies. We buttressed this conclusion by reference to the Financial Responsibility Law of this state, 4 which requires the operators of motor vehicles, having had one prior accident resulting in damage to another, to procure and maintain liability insurance for the benefit of those members of the public who might subsequently suffer damages as a result of the negligent operation of the insured's vehicle.

Our decision was reviewed by the Supreme Court in Shingleton v. Bussey 5 and approved in every respect. By its decision, however, the Supreme Court appears to have placed the rule permitting joinder of liability insurance...

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42 practice notes
  • Employers Fire Ins. Co. v. Blanchard, No. 69--707
    • United States
    • Court of Appeal of Florida (US)
    • April 17, 1970
    ...v. Bussey, Fla.1969, 223 So.2d 713, and the recent First District Court case of Beta Eta House Corporation v. Gregory, Fla.App.1970, 230 So.2d 495, although gratuituous and unnecessary since the motion to dismiss had to be granted on another The petition for common law certiorari is denied ......
  • Allstate Ins. Co. v. Gibbs, No. 76--888
    • United States
    • Court of Appeal of Florida (US)
    • December 10, 1976
    ...586 (Fla.2d DCA 1975); see also Stuart v. Hertz Corporation, 302 So.2d 187 (Fla.4th DCA 1974); Beta Eta House Corporation v. Gregory, 230 So.2d 495 (Fla.1st DCA 1970). Moreover, having determined that certiorari will lie we are also of the opinion that the order denying the petitioner-defen......
  • Maxwell v. Southern American Fire Ins. Co., No. 69--871
    • United States
    • Court of Appeal of Florida (US)
    • May 26, 1970
    ...insurer as a party defendant along with the insured; * * *.' (Emphasis added.) In Beta Eta House Corporation v. Gregory, Fla.App.1970, 230 So.2d 495, Judge Wigginton Discussed the principles enunciated in Bussey, supra, and the court held they were applicable to all types of liability insur......
  • Stuart v. Hertz Corp., No. 74--178
    • United States
    • Court of Appeal of Florida (US)
    • September 27, 1974
    ...an action of the trial court in refusing to dismiss the third party complaint. Beta Eta House Corporation v. Gregory, Fla.App.1970, 230 So.2d 495. An interlocutory appeal is not available under the circumstances of this case; however, certiorari will lie inasmuch as it is our view that if t......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
42 cases
  • Employers Fire Ins. Co. v. Blanchard, No. 69--707
    • United States
    • Court of Appeal of Florida (US)
    • April 17, 1970
    ...v. Bussey, Fla.1969, 223 So.2d 713, and the recent First District Court case of Beta Eta House Corporation v. Gregory, Fla.App.1970, 230 So.2d 495, although gratuituous and unnecessary since the motion to dismiss had to be granted on another The petition for common law certiorari is denied ......
  • Allstate Ins. Co. v. Gibbs, No. 76--888
    • United States
    • Court of Appeal of Florida (US)
    • December 10, 1976
    ...586 (Fla.2d DCA 1975); see also Stuart v. Hertz Corporation, 302 So.2d 187 (Fla.4th DCA 1974); Beta Eta House Corporation v. Gregory, 230 So.2d 495 (Fla.1st DCA 1970). Moreover, having determined that certiorari will lie we are also of the opinion that the order denying the petitioner-defen......
  • Maxwell v. Southern American Fire Ins. Co., No. 69--871
    • United States
    • Court of Appeal of Florida (US)
    • May 26, 1970
    ...insurer as a party defendant along with the insured; * * *.' (Emphasis added.) In Beta Eta House Corporation v. Gregory, Fla.App.1970, 230 So.2d 495, Judge Wigginton Discussed the principles enunciated in Bussey, supra, and the court held they were applicable to all types of liability insur......
  • Stuart v. Hertz Corp., No. 74--178
    • United States
    • Court of Appeal of Florida (US)
    • September 27, 1974
    ...an action of the trial court in refusing to dismiss the third party complaint. Beta Eta House Corporation v. Gregory, Fla.App.1970, 230 So.2d 495. An interlocutory appeal is not available under the circumstances of this case; however, certiorari will lie inasmuch as it is our view that if t......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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