U.S. Fidelity & Guar. Co. v. Adams

Decision Date28 February 1986
Citation485 So.2d 720
PartiesUNITED STATES FIDELITY & GUARANTY CO. v. Allen D. ADAMS, et al. 84-1301.
CourtAlabama Supreme Court

J. Michael Broom, of Almon, McAlister, Ashe, Baccus & Tanner, Tuscumbia, for appellant.

Winston V. Legge, Jr., of Patton, Latham, Legge & Cole, Athens, for appellees.

ADAMS, Justice.

The issue in this case is whether the trial court properly denied the motion filed by appellant, United States Fidelity & Guaranty Company (USF & G), to intervene in a suit for damages sustained by appellees, Allen and Edith Adams, in their purchase of a house. We affirm.

The facts of this case are as follows:

On January 13, 1984, Allen and Edith Adams filed suit against Alabama Elk River Development Agency (Elk River), alleging that they suffered damages as a result of various defects in construction in the house they bought from Elk River. Elk River subsequently filed a third-party complaint against Highland Rim Constructors, Inc., the contractors who built the house, alleging that Highland Rim was responsible for all damages that may be assessed against Elk River.

On May 15, 1985, appellant, USF & G, filed a motion to intervene in the action. USF & G, as insurer for Highland Rim, requested that it be allowed to intervene for the sole purpose of petitioning the trial court to submit the action to the jury on special verdicts with interrogatories. USF & G argued that its insurance policy with Highland Rim provided coverage for claims for damage as a result of faulty workmanship to the owner's personal property in the house, but excluded coverage for claims made for damage to the structure itself. USF & G asserted that, if the jury returned a general verdict, it would be impossible for USF & G to discern what portion of the verdict was awarded as a result of damage to personal property and what portion was for damage to the structure. Therefore, USF & G contended, the court should give the jury special verdict forms to specify how much of the total award was for damage to the personal property in the house, as this is all it would be liable for under its policy with Highland Rim.

On July 18, 1985, the court denied USF & G's motion, at which time USF & G filed a motion with the court to alter, amend, or vacate its judgment denying intervention. The court denied this motion, too, and USF & G subsequently appealed. We have previously held that "an order denying intervention as of right is appealable." Thrasher v. Bartlett, 424 So.2d 605 (Ala.1982). Likewise, an order holding the intervention to be merely "permissive" should also be appealable if the issue presented by the appeal is the contention that the intervention sought is really "of right."

USF & G's motion to intervene was made pursuant to Rule 24(a)(2), A.R.Civ.P., which provides:

Upon timely application, anyone shall be permitted to intervene in an action: ... (2) when the applicant claims an interest relating to the property or transaction which is the subject of the action and he is so situated that the disposition of the action may as a practical matter impair or impede his ability to protect that interest, unless the applicant's interest is adequately represented by existing parties.

In order to determine whether the trial court erred when it denied USF & G's motion, we must decide whether USF & G's "interest" in the action is the kind contemplated by Rule 24(a)(2), A.R.Civ.P. The court, in its order, found that USF & G did not have such an "interest," stating:

The Petitioner does not have an interest in the transaction the subject of this lawsuit. Its interest is contingent upon the Plaintiffs' recovery of a verdict in the underlying action. The Petitioner may, by subsequent litigation, determine its liability in the event of the Plaintiffs' recovery.

This same issue of whether an insurance company could, as a matter of right, intervene in an action in which its insured was being sued was addressed by the United States Court of Appeals, Second Circuit, in Restor-A-Dent Dental Lab v. Certified...

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13 cases
  • Travelers Indem. Co. v. Dingwell, s. 88-1953
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (1st Circuit)
    • 8 février 1989
    ...Laboratories, Inc. v. Certified Alloy Products, Inc., 725 F.2d 871, 874-76 (2d Cir.1984); see also United States Fidelity & Guaranty Co. v. Adams, 485 So.2d 720, 721-22 (Ala.1986) (Alabama Rules of Civil Procedure); Kuperstein v. Superior Court, 204 Cal.App.3d 598, 251 Cal.Rptr. 385, 387 (1......
  • Allstate Ins. Co. v. Atwood, 84
    • United States
    • Court of Appeals of Maryland
    • 12 avril 1990
    ...See, e.g., Restor-a-Dent Dental Lab. v. Certified Alloy Prod., 725 F.2d 871, 874-876 (2d Cir.1984); United States Fidelity & Guar. Co. v. Adams, 485 So.2d 720, 722 (Ala.1986); Corridan v. Rose, 137 Cal.App.2d 524, 531, 290 P.2d 939, 943 (1955) ("the intervention interjected insurance in the......
  • Guaranty Nat. Ins. Co. v. Pittman
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Mississippi
    • 14 janvier 1987
    ...lies within our appellate jurisdiction. See Stallworth v. Monsanto, 558 F.2d 257, 263 (5th Cir.1977); United States Fidelity & Guaranty Company v. Adams, 485 So.2d 720, 721 (Ala.1986). In any event, GNIC appeals entry of the final judgment in favor of Pittman and against Hardin. IV. GNIC fi......
  • Ex parte Builders Mut. Ins. Co.
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of South Carolina
    • 13 mai 2020
    ...Universal Underwriters Ins. Co. v. E. Cent. Ala. Ford-Mercury, Inc. , 574 So. 2d 716, 723 (Ala. 1990) (citing U.S. Fid. & Guar. Co. v. Adams , 485 So. 2d 720, 721–22 (Ala. 1986) ); Donna C. v. Kalamaras , 485 A.2d 222, 223 (Me. 1984).3 Generally, a CGL policy does not cover the cost of repa......
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