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Waters v. Pendergrass

Court of Appeals of Tennessee, Knoxville

September 9, 2014

STANLEY DENNIS WATERS ET AL.
v.
BENNY JOE PENDERGRASS ET AL. [1]

Session November 4, 2013

Appeal from the Circuit Court for Bradley County No. V-10-560 Lawrence H. Puckett, Judge

Stanley Dennis Waters ("the plaintiff"), [2] a detective with the Polk County Sheriff's Department, was seriously injured when the Polk County vehicle in which he was riding as a passenger was struck in the rear by a vehicle owned by one of the two named defendants and driven by the other named defendant (collectively "the Named Defendants"). The plaintiff's vehicle was being driven by the Sheriff of Polk County. The plaintiff and his wife sued the Named Defendants. Process and a copy of the complaint were served[3] upon two unnamed parties, Tennessee Risk Management Trust ("TRMT") and Markel Corporation[4](collectively "the Unnamed Parties"). The suit against the Named Defendants was settled for the full amount of the liability limits of their respective casualty insurance policies. The plaintiffs seek to recover uninsured[5] motorist benefits from the Unnamed Parties. The plaintiffs and the Unnamed Parties filed motions for summary judgment. The trial court granted the motion of the Unnamed Parties and denied the plaintiffs' motion. The plaintiffs appeal. We affirm.

Tenn. R. App. P. 3 Appeal as of Right; Judgment of the Circuit Court Affirmed; Case Remanded

Joshua H. Jenne, Cleveland, Tennessee, for the appellants, Stanley Dennis Waters and wife, Carolyn Waters.

W. Carl Spining and T. William A. Caldwell, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellees, Tennessee Risk Management Trust and Markel Corporation.

Charles D. Susano, Jr., C.J., delivered the opinion of the Court, in which D. Michael Swiney and Thomas R. Frierson, II, JJ., joined.

OPINION

CHARLES D. SUSANO, JR., CHIEF JUDGE

The parties stipulated to certain facts. The relevant portion of those facts, as pertains to the issue before us, is as set forth below:

On [August 4, 2009], the Polk County Government insured the vehicle in which Plaintiff was a passenger pursuant to the terms of the "Coverage Document". . . .
The losses and damages to Plaintiffs far exceed the $150, 000 in underlying third party liability coverage obtained from the named defendants and therefore Plaintiffs have not been made whole.
Pursuant to the aforementioned "Coverage Document, " [TRMT] has already paid certain amounts to Mr. Waters, as well as on his behalf, in worker's compensation benefits. These amounts far exceed the $150, 000 in underlying third party liability coverage obtained from the named defendants.
The Certificate of Liability Insurance and/or Declarations Page regarding the "Coverage Document" provide[s] for $1 million in liability coverage and $1 million in uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage on the vehicle involved in the accident in question.
The Certificate of Liability Insurance and/or Declarations Page issued to Polk County is a "combination of self-insured retention and excess insurance provided by ...

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