Session November 21, 2014
Appeal from the Circuit Court for Williamson County No. 2013347James G. Martin, III, Judge.
Patrick Shea Callahan, Cookeville, Tennessee, for the appellant, Edward.
Martin. Benjamin J. Miller, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellee, Gregory Powers.
Richard H.Dinkins, J., delivered the opinion of the court, in which Andy D.Bennett and W. Neal McBrayer, JJ., joined.
RICHARD H. DINKINS, JUDGE.
On July 20, 2012, Edward Martin, the owner of a bar located in Franklin, Tennessee, was struck by a Kia Sorento being driven by Gregory Powers, a customer whom Martin had refused to serve;the Kia was owned byand rented from Enterprise Rent-A-Carof Tennessee, LLC ("Enterprise"). As a result of being struck, Martin suffered a torn meniscus, requiring surgery and physical therapy.
On July 18, 2013, Martin filed suit in Williamson County Circuit Court to recover for his injuries, naming Powers, Mountain Laurel Assurance Company ("Mountain Laurel"), Powers' automobile liability insurance company, and Enterprise as defendants;in due course Mountain Laurel and Enterprise were dismissed.On November 14, IDS Property Casualty Insurance Company ("IDS"), Martin's uninsured motorist carrier, filed an answer to the complaint.IDS thereafter filed a motion for summary judgment, contending that Enterprise was a self-insurer within the meaning of the Tennessee Financial Responsibility Law and, consequently, Martin was not entitled to coverage because his damages did not arise out of the "ownership, maintenance or use" of an uninsured motor vehicle, as required by his policy.
The motion for summary judgment was heard on February 10, 2014. On February 14, the court granted the motion, holding that the Kia was not an uninsured motor vehicle under the IDS policy because it was owned by Enterprise, a self-insurer under Tennessee law; an order was entered on February 19 dismissing the case.
Mr. Martin appeals, contending that the court erred in finding that the Kia was not an "uninsured motor vehicle" within the meaning of the policy.
STANDARD OF REVIEW
This case was resolved on a motion for summary judgment, which is an appropriate vehicle for resolving a case where a party can "show that there is no genuine issue as to any material fact and that the moving party is entitled to judgment as a matter of law." Tenn. R. Civ. P. 56.04. The parties do not contend that there is a genuine issue of material fact; consequently, the issue before this court is a question of law which we review de novo, affording no presumption of correctness to the trial court's conclusions. Draper v. Westerfield, 181 S.W.3d 283, 288 (Tenn. 2005).
The Tennessee Financial Responsibility Law, codified at Tenn. Code Ann. §§ 55-12-101–140, was enacted to protectautomobile accidentvictims from financialloss byrequiring that automobile drivers have the financial ability to pay judgments for bodily injury or propertydamage resulting from a vehicle accident. See Purkey v. American Home Assurance Company, 173 S.W.3d 703, 706 (Tenn. 2005); Hawks v. Greene, No. M1999-02785-COAR3-CV, 2001 WL 1613889, at *11 n.15 (Tenn. Ct. App. Dec. 18, 2001). "Although the Financial ResponsibilityLaw does not, byits express terms, require drivers to obtain liability insurance in order to comply, the Law clearly contemplates that most drivers will comply ...