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Stanley v. Segura

Court of Appeals of Tennessee, Nashville

June 26, 2018

CHRISTLE STANLEY ET AL
v.
FIDEL CASTRO SEGURA ET AL

         Session May 23, 2018

          Appeal from the Circuit Court for Davidson County No. 13c2714 Kelvin D. Jones, Judge

         This is an uninsured motorist case. Appellee State Farm Insurance Companies denied Appellants' uninsured motorist coverage after the uninsured motorist, defendant, discharged the claim in bankruptcy. The trial court granted State Farm's Tennessee Rule of Civil Procedure 12.02(6) motion, finding that the policy language that State Farm was liable for "bodily injury an insured is legally entitled to collect from the [uninsured motorist]," relieved State Farm from providing coverage after the uninsured motorist discharged the claim in bankruptcy. Because the order appealed is not final, we dismiss the appeal for lack of subject matter jurisdiction.

         Tenn. R. App. P. 3 Appeal as of Right; Appeal Dismissed

          Thomas J. Hendrickson, III, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellants, Christle Stanley, and Lachrissa Stanley.

          Gerald C. Wigger, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellees, Fidel Castro Segura, and State Farm Insurance Companies.

          Kenny Armstrong, J., delivered the opinion of the court, in which J. Steven Stafford, P.J., W.S., and Arnold B. Goldin, J., joined.

          MEMORANDUM OPINION[1]

          KENNY ARMSTRONG, JUDGE.

         The material facts are not in dispute. On or about July 4, 2012, Christle Stanley was driving her 2003 Nissan Altima, in which Lachrissa Stanley (together with Christle Stanley, the "Stanleys," or "Appellants") was a passenger. The Stanleys' vehicle was struck by a vehicle driven by Fidel Castro Segura, an uninsured motorist. At the time of the accident, Christle Stanley was insured by State Farm Insurance Companies ("State Farm," and together with Mr. Segura, "Appellees"). As is relevant to the instant appeal, the insurance policy at issue provides compensatory coverage for "bodily injury an insured is legally entitled to collect from the owner or driver of an uninsured motor vehicle."

         On July 3, 2013, the Stanleys filed an action against "John Doe #1 and John Doe #2." The Stanleys served State Farm as uninsured motorist carrier. State Farm identified the driver of the offending vehicle as Mr. Segura. Thereafter, on October 18, 2013, the Stanleys filed an amended complaint to name Mr. Segura as the sole defendant.

         On April 10, 2014, Mr. Segura filed for chapter 7 bankruptcy in the United States Bankruptcy Court for the Middle District of Tennessee. Appellants were named as a creditor, holding an unsecured, nonpriority claim for a "lawsuit arising out of a motor vehicle the debtor used to own, disputed claim." On July 14, 2014, the bankruptcy court granted Mr. Segura a discharge, which included Appellants' claim.

         On September 15, 2014, State Farm filed a Tennessee Rule of Civil Procedure 12.02(6) motion or, in the alternative, a motion for summary judgment. The crux of State Farm's argument was that Christle Stanley's insurance policy relieved State Farm from having to pay uninsured motorist coverage because, after Appellants' claim was discharged in Mr. Segura's bankruptcy, Christle Stanley was no longer "legally entitled to collect from [Mr. Segura, ]" see supra. Following a hearing, the trial court entered an order on November 10, 2014, denying State Farm's motion for summary judgment but granting its motion to dismiss. The Stanleys appealed.

         On review, this Court determined that the November 10, 2014 order was not a "final order" as it dismissed the "unnamed defendants" but did not adjudicate Mr. Segura, or otherwise dismiss him from the lawsuit. On February 25, 2015, this Court entered an order, stating, in relevant part:

[T]he trial court has not yet entered a final judgment because Plaintiff's claims against Fidel Castro Segura remain pending. An order that adjudicates fewer than all the claims between all the parties is subject to revision at any time before the entry of a final judgment and is not appealable as of right. Tenn. R. App. P. 3(a); In re Estate of Henderson, 121 S.W.3d 643, 645 (Tenn. 2003). A notice of appeal filed before entry of a final judgment is considered premature and shall be treated as filed as of the date the trial court enters final ...

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