Moore v. State Farm Mut. Auto. Ins. Co., No. 8291

CourtCourt of Appeal of Missouri (US)
Writing for the CourtSTONE; RUARK, P. J., and HOGAN
Citation381 S.W.2d 161
PartiesR. T. MOORE and Carol Moore, Plaintiffs-Respondents, v. STATE FARM MUTUAL AUTOMOBILE INSURANCE COMPANY, Defendant-Appellant.
Decision Date15 July 1964
Docket NumberNo. 8291

Page 161

381 S.W.2d 161
R. T. MOORE and Carol Moore, Plaintiffs-Respondents,
v.
STATE FARM MUTUAL AUTOMOBILE INSURANCE COMPANY, Defendant-Appellant.
No. 8291.
Springfield Court of Appeals, Missouri.
July 15, 1964.

Page 162

Gerald H. Lowther, James K. Prewitt, Springfield, for defendant-appellant.

Homer D. Wampler, Jr., B. H. Clampett, Springfield, for plaintiffs-respondents.

STONE, Judge.

In this court-tried action at law, plaintiffs R. T. (Tarrant) and Carol Moore, who are husband and wife, obtained judgment in the aggregate sum of $1,510.06 (including $1,054.60 for actual damages, $105.46 for statutory penalty [Sec. 375.420], and $350.00 for attorneys' fees) against State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Company (hereinafter called the Company) under the $50 deductible collision coverage alleged to have been afforded by a policy issued by the Company to plaintiffs as the named insureds. (All statutory references are to RSMo 1959, V.A.M.S.) Defendant appeals.

Plaintiffs are long-time residents of Greenfield, Missouri. In November 1961, Charles Ross Moore, plaintiffs' son then twenty years of age, lived in the home of his maternal aunt, Mrs. Maxine Thomas, in Columbia, Missouri, and worked as a clerk at Noel's United Supermarket in that city. Charles' attention was attracted by a 1958 MG roadster (hereinafter referred to as the MG) on the Columbia used car lot of Copeland Foreign Cars, a co-partnership composed of Kenneth W. Copeland and Gerald Morris. Having determined to acquire the MG but being hindered in financing the purchase by the fact of his minority, Charles called his father, plaintiff Tarrant, over long distance from the Copeland lot on the Saturday before Thanksgiving, i. e., on November 18, 1961, and persuaded his father to 'sign for me [Charles].' Thus assured of his father's cooperation, Charles made a down payment of $200 that same afternoon, signed the note (for the balance of the purchase price) which was to be mailed to his father for signature, and had an understanding with Copeland's representative (one Ribolt) that he (Charles) would pick up the MG on Thanksgiving Eve, November 22.

On the following Monday, November 20, plaintiff Tarrant received in the mail the note (signed by Charles) and a chattel mortgage, both instruments being 'in blank'--'they weren't filled in.' The same day he talked with Chester Ball, the Company's agent at Greenfield, through whom plaintiffs theretofore had procured insurance coverage on a 1958 Mercury sedan and a 1949 Chevrolet sedan, the only two automobiles then owned by them, under separate policies issued by the Company. Informing Ball that 'my boy was wanting to buy a car,' plaintiff Tarrant asked Ball (1) about signing the note and chattel mortgage in blank and (2) 'about insurance.' On the first subject of inquiry, Ball said 'it'd be foolish to sign something in blank' so, although plaintiff Tarrant signed the instruments, he returned them to his sister-in-law, Mrs. Thomas, that she and her husband might make sure that the instruments were 'filled in correctly' when delivered to dealer Copeland. With respect to insurance coverage on the MG, plaintiff Tarrant testified that 'he [agent Ball] said that he would insure it, but he needed the motor number.' There was no evidence that such information ever was supplied.

On the appointed date, to wit, on Thanksgiving Eve, November 22, Charles took possession of the MG at the Copeland lot. Both partners, Copeland and Morris, were on a business trip to Chicago at that time, and Charles dealt with an employee not identified by name. To the inquiry 'did you get any papers at that time, or did anybody say anything to you about papers, or did you just get the car,' Charles responded 'I just got the car.' When Copeland and Morris returned that evening,

Page 163

the MG was gone. 'Papers' pertaining to this transaction, which Morris had prepared before leaving for Chicago, were still on the office desk, so Copeland and Morris said. Sans 'papers' but with a companion, Charles started for Greenfield the next morning, i. e., on Thanksgiving Day, November 23. But before he had gone very far, more specifically about seven miles from Jefferson City, he took the MG into a ditch while passing a truck and meeting another vehicle, and the MG was 'pretty well demolished' as it rolled over six times. For the damage then done to the MG, plaintiffs sought to recover under the $50 deductible collision coverage afforded by the Company's policy theretofore issued to plaintiffs on their 1958 Mercury sedan. We note parenthetically that the Company's policy on plaintiffs' 1949 Chevrolet sedan provided liability, but not collision, coverage. The Company never issued a policy on the MG or received any additional premium for coverage thereon.

At this point in our factual review, we backtrack to pick up the thread of title to the MG in the State of Arkansas where on March 28, 1961, an Arkansas certificate of title was issued to William M. Durham of Arkadelphia, Arkansas. On October 16, 1961, Durham sold the MG to Proctor and Brown Used Cars (a copartnership composed of Waldo Proctor and Oscar Brown) at Columbia, Missouri, and executed the 'Assignment of Title' on the reverse side of the Arkansas certificate. Oscar Brown, as notary public, purported to take the acknowledgment on the assignment. On November 1, 1961, Proctor and Brown Used Cars sold the MG to Copeland Foreign Cars and executed the form reassignment on the reverse side of the Arkansas certificate of title. Oscar Brown, as notary public, again purported to take the acknowledgment on the reassignment which was signed 'Proctor & Brown Used Cars--By Waldo Proctor (Partner).' Neither Proctor and Brown Used Cars nor Copeland Foreign Cars obtained a Missouri certificate of title to the MG.

Just what title 'papers' may have been lying on the desk when plaintiffs' son Charles picked up the MG at the Copeland lot on November 22, 1961, is not clear from the record. When asked, 'what papers did you prepare,' Gerald Morris, one of the partners in Copeland Foreign Cars, gave this obfuscous answer, 'a bill to make out your title for for [sic] a new title, transferring the title into Mr. Moore's name.' At another point, Morris said, 'I made a new certificate out for a new title for it and notarized it.' But whatever 'papers' Morris may have prepared, admittedly none of them were passed to Charles or to plaintiffs prior to the accident on Thanksgiving Day, November 23. According to dealer Copeland (the only witness who testified on this point), it was some time after the following Monday, November 27, before 'the application for a new title' passed out of his hands. He thought that it had been picked up by Mrs. Maxine Thomas, Charles' aunt, but 'it could have been mailed.' And it was August 31, 1962, more than eight months after the accident, before a Missouri certificate of title was issued for the MG. At that time, the Arkansas certificate of title to the MG was surrendered to the Missouri Department of Revenue (Motor Vehicle Registration), 'Missouri Certificate of Cancel [sic] Title Number 1670232' was issued in the name of 'Copeland Foreign Cars' upon the application of that firm signed by Gerald Morris, and Missouri Certificate of Title Number 1670233 was issued in the name of 'Dr. Tarrant Moore' upon his application which showed November 22, 1961, as the date of purchase of the MG and was accompanied by his 'Affidavit of Non-Use' of that vehicle.

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13 practice notes
  • State Farm Mut. Auto. Ins. Co. v. MFA Mut. Ins. Co., No. 55914
    • United States
    • Missouri Supreme Court
    • 9 Octubre 1972
    ...717, 721(1); Ferm v. Miller Pontiac Company, Mo.App., 407 S.W.2d 55, 57--58(2); Moore v. State Farm Mutual Automobile Ins. Co., Mo.App., 381 S.W.2d 161, 164--165(1, 2); Allstate Insurance Co. v. Hartford Accident & Ind. Co., Mo.App., 311 S.W.2d 41, 9 Pearl v. Interstate Securities Co., supr......
  • Galemore v. Mid-West Nat. Fire & Cas. Ins. Co., MID-WEST
    • United States
    • Court of Appeal of Missouri (US)
    • 5 Junio 1969
    ...Mo.App., 407 S.W.2d 55, 57(2); Kahn v. Lockhart, Mo.App., 392 S.W.2d 30, 34(3); Moore v. State Farm Mutual Automobile Ins. Co., Mo.App., 381 S.W.2d 161, 164--165(1, 2); Galati v. New Amsterdam Gas. Co., Mo.App., 381 S.W.2d 5, 4 'It shall be unlawful for any person to buy or sell in this sta......
  • G.M. Battery & Boat Co. v. L.K.N. Corp., No. 69427
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Missouri
    • 15 Marzo 1988
    ...Co., 381 S.W.2d 5 (Mo.App.1964); White v. Merchants Ins. Co., 93 Mo.App. 282 (1903). 6 See, e.g., Moore v. State Farm Insurance Co., 381 S.W.2d 161 (Mo.App.1964); Galati v. New Amsterdam Casualty Co., 381 S.W.2d 5 (Mo.App.1964); Faygal v. Shelter Insurance Co., 689 S.W.2d 724 7 The statute ......
  • Shelton v. M & A Elec. Power Co-op., No. 8891
    • United States
    • Missouri Court of Appeals
    • 29 Enero 1970
    ...Southwestern Bell Telephone Co. v. Webb, Mo.App., 393 S.W.2d 117, 120(1); Moore v. State Farm Mutual Automobile Ins. Co., Mo.App., 381 S.W.2d 161, 166(6); Hood v. M.F.A. Mutual Ins. Co., Mo.App., 379 S.W.2d 806, 814(14); Hill v. Seaboard Fire & Marine Ins. Co., Mo.App., 374 S.W.2d 606, 610(......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
13 cases
  • State Farm Mut. Auto. Ins. Co. v. MFA Mut. Ins. Co., No. 55914
    • United States
    • Missouri Supreme Court
    • 9 Octubre 1972
    ...717, 721(1); Ferm v. Miller Pontiac Company, Mo.App., 407 S.W.2d 55, 57--58(2); Moore v. State Farm Mutual Automobile Ins. Co., Mo.App., 381 S.W.2d 161, 164--165(1, 2); Allstate Insurance Co. v. Hartford Accident & Ind. Co., Mo.App., 311 S.W.2d 41, 9 Pearl v. Interstate Securities Co., supr......
  • Galemore v. Mid-West Nat. Fire & Cas. Ins. Co., MID-WEST
    • United States
    • Court of Appeal of Missouri (US)
    • 5 Junio 1969
    ...Mo.App., 407 S.W.2d 55, 57(2); Kahn v. Lockhart, Mo.App., 392 S.W.2d 30, 34(3); Moore v. State Farm Mutual Automobile Ins. Co., Mo.App., 381 S.W.2d 161, 164--165(1, 2); Galati v. New Amsterdam Gas. Co., Mo.App., 381 S.W.2d 5, 4 'It shall be unlawful for any person to buy or sell in this sta......
  • G.M. Battery & Boat Co. v. L.K.N. Corp., No. 69427
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Missouri
    • 15 Marzo 1988
    ...Co., 381 S.W.2d 5 (Mo.App.1964); White v. Merchants Ins. Co., 93 Mo.App. 282 (1903). 6 See, e.g., Moore v. State Farm Insurance Co., 381 S.W.2d 161 (Mo.App.1964); Galati v. New Amsterdam Casualty Co., 381 S.W.2d 5 (Mo.App.1964); Faygal v. Shelter Insurance Co., 689 S.W.2d 724 7 The statute ......
  • Shelton v. M & A Elec. Power Co-op., No. 8891
    • United States
    • Missouri Court of Appeals
    • 29 Enero 1970
    ...Southwestern Bell Telephone Co. v. Webb, Mo.App., 393 S.W.2d 117, 120(1); Moore v. State Farm Mutual Automobile Ins. Co., Mo.App., 381 S.W.2d 161, 166(6); Hood v. M.F.A. Mutual Ins. Co., Mo.App., 379 S.W.2d 806, 814(14); Hill v. Seaboard Fire & Marine Ins. Co., Mo.App., 374 S.W.2d 606, 610(......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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