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Harris v. Haynes

Supreme Court of Tennessee, Knoxville

August 26, 2014

DENNIS MICHAEL HARRIS ET AL.
v.
MICKEY DEANNE HAYNES ET AL

Session May 6, 2014.

Tenn. R. App. P. 11 Appeal by Permission; Judgment of the Court of Appeals Affirmed; Case Remanded to the Trial Court. Appeal by Permission from the Court of Appeals, Eastern Section Circuit Court for Anderson County. No. B0LA0333. Donald R. Elledge, Judge.

David A. Stuart, Clinton, Tennessee, for the appellants, Dennis Michael Harris and Judy A. Harris.

Jonathan Swann Taylor and Courtney R. Houpt, Knoxville, Tennessee, for the appellee, Tennessee Risk Management Trust.

Robyn Beale Williams and Deanna Lee Fankhauser, Nashville, Tennessee, for the amici curiae, Tennessee Municipal League and Local Government Property and Casualty Fund.

CORNELIA A. CLARK, delivered the opinion of the Court, in which GARY R. WADE, C.J., and JANICE M. HOLDER, WILLIAM C. KOCH, JR., AND SHARON G. LEE, JJ., joined.

OPINION

Page 144

CORNELIA A. CLARK, J.

We granted permission to appeal to determine whether a governmental fund established in accordance with Tennessee Code Annotated sections 29-20-401 to -408 (2012), which allows governmental entities to pool resources in order to address liabilities created under the Governmental Tort Liability Act, is subject to the uninsured motorist coverage requirements of Tennessee Code Annotated sections 56-7-1201 to -1206 (2008). We hold that such funds are statutorily exempt from the insurance statutes and therefore the requirements of the uninsured motorist statute do not apply. Accordingly, we affirm the Court of Appeals' judgment upholding the trial court's decision granting summary judgment to Tennessee Risk Management Trust and remand to the trial court for further proceedings consistent with this decision.

OPINION

I. Facts and Procedural History

The material facts of this appeal are undisputed. On August 15, 2009, at approximately 11:20 p.m., Dennis Michael Harris, a patrolman with the Anderson County Sheriff's Department, was assisting with traffic control at the scene of a vehicular collision when he was struck by a pickup truck driven by Ms. Mickey Deanne Haynes. Mr. Harris received workers' compensation benefits for his work-related injuries.

In July 2010, Mr. Harris and his wife Judy A. Harris (" Plaintiffs" ), sued Ms. Haynes and Richard H. Furrow,[1] the truck's owner, alleging negligence and vicarious liability and seeking damages. The trial court entered a default judgment for Plaintiffs against Ms. Haynes and awarded $1,000,000 in damages to Mr. Harris and $250,000 in damages to Ms. Harris. Neither Ms. Haynes nor Mr. ...


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