Shelter Mut. Ins. Co. v. Haller, WD

CourtCourt of Appeal of Missouri (US)
Writing for the CourtBefore NUGENT, C.J., FENNER, J., and WASSERSTROM; NUGENT
Citation793 S.W.2d 391
PartiesSHELTER MUTUAL INSURANCE CO., Respondent, v. Mary HALLER, Administrator, and Billy Vollrath, Guardian, Appellants.
Docket NumberNo. WD,WD
Decision Date22 May 1990

Page 391

793 S.W.2d 391
Mary HALLER, Administrator,
Billy Vollrath, Guardian, Appellants.
No. WD 42570.
Missouri Court of Appeals,
Western District.
May 22, 1990.
As Modified July 26, 1990.
Motion for Rehearing and/or Transfer to Supreme Court
Denied July 31, 1990.

Page 392

Richard Blank, Boonville, for Mary Haller.

Daniel K. Atwill, Maria Campbell (argued), Columbia, for Billy Vollrath.

Duane E. Schreimann, Donald C. Otto (argued), Jefferson City, for Shelter Mut.

Before NUGENT, C.J., FENNER, J., and WASSERSTROM, Senior Judge.

NUGENT, Chief Judge.

In consolidated appeals defendant Billy Vollrath, guardian and conservator of the minor sons of the named insureds, Glenda and Harold L. Heckman, Sr., deceased, and Mary Haller, administrator of the estate of the deceased Harold L. Heckman, appeal from the trial court's declaratory judgment that plaintiff Shelter Mutual Insurance Co.'s homeowner's policy does not cover the sons claims for their mother's wrongful death at the hands of their father. Mr. Vollrath and Ms. Haller contend first that, since no provision in the policy excludes such coverage as a matter of law, the trial court erred in declaring that Shelter need not cover the sons' claimed losses. They next maintain that the trial court's judgment contravenes Missouri's public policy.

We affirm the judgment of the trial court.

On September 5, 1987, Shelter issued a homeowner's insurance policy to Mr. and Mrs. Heckman. Basically, Shelter's policy insured the Heckman's property and protected them and their two sons, Harold L., Jr., and Lloyd W., against personal liability for injuries to others. The policy defines "Insured" as the persons to whom the plaintiff issued the policy, that is, the named insured, and their relatives and other persons under age twenty-one living in their household. The policy's coverage applies "separately to each insured against whom claim is made ..." (emphasis in the original). In addition, if a named insured dies, the policy will cover surviving members of the household while they remain residents of the insured premises, as well as the person serving as the decedent's legal representative.

The policy excludes from coverage, among other things, medical expenses arising from injuries to the named insureds, "bodily injury or property damage expected or intended by the insured," and bodily injuries to the named insured.

Mr. Vollrath, the guardian of the two sons, sued their father's estate, claiming damages for the wrongful death of their mother. Ms. Haller, the estate's administrator,

Page 393

then demanded that the plaintiff defend the wrongful death action.

In a separate action, Shelter petitioned the circuit court for a declaratory judgment alleging that on June 8, 1988, Mr. Heckman shot and killed his wife, from whom he had separated, and then shot and killed himself. In his answer to Shelter's declaratory judgment petition, Mr. Vollrath denied Shelter's allegations regarding the Heckmans' deaths, and in her answer, Ms. Haller denied sufficient knowledge to admit them. The court ruled on the pleadings that the insurance policy did not cover the loss the sons claimed and, thus, that the company did not have to defend the action.

A declaratory judgment becomes a final and appealable order when it declares, as does the judgment of the trial court here, the rights of all parties to the action with respect to all issues raised in the action....

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6 cases
  • NC Farm Bureau Mut. Ins. Co. v. Fowler, COA03-311.
    • United States
    • North Carolina Court of Appeal of North Carolina (US)
    • 6 Enero 2004
    ...cert. denied, 661 So.2d 471 (La.1995); United Fire & Casualty Co. v. Reeder, 9 F.3d 15 (5th Cir.1993); Shelter Mut. Ins. Co. v. Haller, 793 S.W.2d 391 (Mo.App.1990). We hold that the trial court did not err in granting summary judgment in favor of plaintiff on the issue of whether the polic......
  • Brewer v. Lincoln Nat. Life Ins. Co., s. 90-1226E
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (8th Circuit)
    • 7 Diciembre 1990
    ...of general state contract principles and was not specifically designed for the insurance industry. E.g., Shelter Mut. Ins. Co. v. Haller, 793 S.W.2d 391, 393 (Mo.Ct.App.1990); Farm Bureau Mut. Ins. Co. v. Broadie, 558 S.W.2d 751, 755 (Mo.Ct.App.1977); see also McMahan, 888 F.2d at 429 (disc......
  • McAuliffe v. Northern Ins. Co. of N.Y., 94-3660
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (8th Circuit)
    • 13 Diciembre 1995
    ...Dent Phelps R-III Sch. Dist. v. Hartford Fire Ins. Co., 870 Page 280 S.W.2d 915, 920 (Mo.Ct.App.1994); Shelter Mut. Ins. Co. v. Haller, 793 S.W.2d 391, 394 (Mo.Ct.App.1990). Under McAuliffe's approach, the more abusive a priest's acts become, the more certain it would be that the abuse or m......
  • Missouri Intergovernmental Risk Management Ass'n v. Gallagher Bassett Services, Inc., 62548
    • United States
    • Court of Appeal of Missouri (US)
    • 27 Abril 1993
    ...217 (Mo.App.1990) [1, 2]. Exclusion clauses are strictly construed against the insurer. Id.; Shelter Mutual Insurance Co. v. Haller, 793 S.W.2d 391 (Mo.App.1990) . Any ambiguities are resolved against the insurer. Maxon v. Farmers Insurance Company, Inc., 791 S.W.2d 437 (Mo.App.1990) . The ......
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