John Schultz and Nikki Cannezzaro obtain reversal from Missouri Court of Appeals, Western District
The Western District Court of Appeals reversed the trial court's award of summary judgment in an equitable garnishment action based on an insurance coverage dispute. In Sauvain v. Acceptance Indemn. Ins. Co., WD 72343, plaintiffs, after obtaining a $6 million judgment against the tortfeasor, sought recovery under a garage liability policy issued by Acceptance to a used car dealer in Texas. Plaintiffs claimed that the tortfeasor, who was the son of the individual who purchased the car, was an insured under the dealership's policy, arguing that the dealership still owned the vehicle at the time of the accident. Plaintiffs additionally claimed that the insurer was estopped from denying coverage based upon statements contained in its denial letter, asserting that the basis for the denial of coverage stated in the denial letter was inconsistent with the denial of coverage made in the garnishment action. The appellate court reversed the trial court's decision which extended coverage to the tortfeasor and barred the insurer from asserting its coverage defenses.