Nationwide Mutual Ins. Co. v. Thomas

Annotate this Case
Justia Opinion Summary

The United States District Court for the Northern District of Alabama, Eastern Division certified two questions of first impression to the Alabama Supreme Court: whether a coverage exclusion clause in an automobile insurance policy applied to the use of the vehicle used for transporting people or delivering newspapers (as part of the insured's job) was enforceable. A secondary issue was whether that exclusion applied when an accident takes place after the delivery of the last paper, "but while the insured is driving back to his point of origin or some other location." Scott and Lori Touart Thomas were injured as the result of an automobile accident; Lori had been driving. The Thomases recovered a judgment in state court against defendant Kenneth Gooden, Jr., the driver of the other vehicle. The dispute involved whether the Thomases were entitled to recover from Nationwide under the provisions of a Nationwide automobile liability insurance policy naming Gooden as an insured. Upon review, the Supreme Court concluded that the answer to the first certified question is "yes:" a clause in an automobile liability-insurance policy excluding coverage for the "use of any motor vehicle to carry persons or property for a fee" could be enforced as to an insured if the finder of fact concludes that the insured delivers newspapers for a fee and that the insured was using the covered vehicle for that purpose at the time of the accident. With regard to the second question, the Court concluded that the answer to the second certified question is "no:" a clause in an automobile liability-insurance policy excluding coverage for the "use of any motor vehicle to carry persons or property for a fee" cannot be enforced as to an insured after the delivery of the "property," i.e., newspapers in this case, is complete.

Download PDF
Rel: 08/24/2012 Notice: T h i s o p i n i o n i s s u b j e c t t o formal r e v i s i o n b e f o r e p u b l i c a t i o n i n t h e advance s h e e t s o f Southern R e p o r t e r . R e a d e r s a r e r e q u e s t e d t o n o t i f y t h e R e p o r t e r o f D e c i s i o n s , Alabama A p p e l l a t e C o u r t s , 300 D e x t e r A v e n u e , M o n t g o m e r y , A l a b a m a 3 6 1 0 4 - 3 7 4 1 ((334) 2 2 9 - 0 6 4 9 ) , o f a n y t y p o g r a p h i c a l o r o t h e r e r r o r s , i n o r d e r t h a t c o r r e c t i o n s may b e made b e f o r e t h e o p i n i o n i s p r i n t e d i n Southern R e p o r t e r . SUPREME COURT OF ALABAMA SPECIAL TERM, 2012 1101332 Nationwide Mutual Insurance Company v. S c o t t Thomas, Kenneth Gene Gooden, J r . , and L o r i Touart Thomas C e r t i f i e d Questions from the U n i t e d S t a t e s D i s t r i c t Court f o r the Northern D i s t r i c t o f Alabama, E a s t e r n D i v i s i o n (No. 1:10-1134-RBP) MAIN, Justice. The United States District Court f o r the Northern D i s t r i c t o f A l a b a m a , E a s t e r n D i v i s i o n ("the d i s t r i c t c o u r t " ) , a c t i n g p u r s u a n t t o R u l e 1 8 , A l a . R. App. P., h a s c e r t i f i e d two 1101332 questions accepted of f i r s t impression a n d now a n s w e r s t h o s e I. The Court. This Court questions. Certified two q u e s t i o n s to this Questions c e r t i f i e d by the d i s t r i c t c o u r t a r e as follows: "Whether a c o v e r a g e e x c l u s i o n c l a u s e i n an automobile liability [insurance policy] which p r o v i d e s : ' T h i s c o v e r a g e does n o t a p p l y t o : u s e o f any m o t o r v e h i c l e t o c a r r y p e r s o n s o r p r o p e r t y f o r a f e e ' i s e n f o r c e a b l e as t o an i n s u r e d who d e l i v e r s n e w s p a p e r s f o r an e m p l o y e r a n d i s c o m p e n s a t e d b y t h e employer based on t h e number of newspapers d e l i v e r e d , r e g a r d l e s s of the l o c a t i o n o f customers. A secondary i s s u e i s whether s a i d e x c l u s i o n a p p l i e s when t h e s u b j e c t a c c i d e n t t a k e s p l a c e a f t e r t h e d e l i v e r y of the l a s t paper, but while the i n s u r e d i s d r i v i n g b a c k t o h i s p o i n t o f o r i g i n o r some o t h e r location. 1 " The i n i t i a l i s s u e i n v o l v e s c o n s t r u c t i o n and a p p l i c a b i l i t y o f t h e terms ' c a r r y , ' ' p r o p e r t y , ' and ' f e e . ' A l s o , w h e t h e r t h e p r o v i s i o n i s ambiguous as a matter of law." 1 The district court noted that i t d i d not c e r t i f y issues " r e l a t e d t o (1) w a i v e r a n d e s t o p p e l ; (2) t h e e n f o r c e a b i l i t y o f the 'duty to notify' mandatory i n s u r a n c e it c l a u s e s ; or the relevance or uninsured-motorists d i d n o t v i e w any o f t h e s e o f Alabama s t a t u t e s " because i s s u e s as c o n t r o l l i n g . 2 1101332 II. The F a c t u a l Background district background court and P r o c e d u r a l H i s t o r y set forth the following factual in i t s certificate: " F a c t s and C i r c u m s t a n c e s Out o f W h i c h the Q u e s t i o n ( s ) A r i s e "The f a c t s as s t a t e d a r e t h o s e f o u n d by t h e c o u r t a f t e r a n o n - j u r y t r i a l h e l d on J u n e 20, 2011. " T h i s a c t i o n a r i s e s out of a d i s p u t e between [ N a t i o n w i d e M u t u a l I n s u r a n c e Company ( ' N a t i o n w i d e ' ) ] and t h e d e f e n d a n t s as t o i n s u r a n c e c o v e r a g e . [ S c o t t Thomas and Lori Touart Thomas ('the Thomas d e f e n d a n t s ' ) were i n j u r e d as t h e r e s u l t o f an automobile a c c i d e n t which occurred at approximately 5:30 a.m. on O c t o b e r 12, 2009. L o r i Thomas was t h e driver of one of the vehicles. The Thomas d e f e n d a n t s have r e c o v e r e d a j u d g m e n t i n s t a t e c o u r t a g a i n s t d e f e n d a n t [ K e n n e t h G e n e ] Gooden, [ J r . , ] t h e d r i v e r of the other v e h i c l e . The d i s p u t e i n v o l v e s whether t h e Thomas d e f e n d a n t s are e n t i t l e d to r e c o v e r from [ N a t i o n w i d e ] under the p r o v i s i o n s o f a Nationwide automobile l i a b i l i t y insurance p o l i c y n a m i n g Gooden as an i n s u r e d . The s u b j e c t p o l i c y was i s s u e d on J a n u a r y 18, 2008, b a s e d on an a p p l i c a t i o n d a t e d and s u b m i t t e d by Gooden on December 21, 2 0 0 7 . 2 "The p e r t i n e n t p r o v i s i o n s i n t h e s u b j e c t p o l i c y and t h e a p p l i c a t i o n a r e t h e f o l l o w i n g : "'POLICY "'1. Coverage Exclusions " ' T h i s c o v e r a g e does n o t a p p l y t o : Use of any m o t o r v e h i c l e t o c a r r y p e r s o n s o r property for a fee. "'2. G e n e r a l P o l i c y C o n d i t i o n s 3 1101332 "'We, y o u , a n d anyone i n s u r e d b y t h i s p o l i c y must do c e r t a i n t h i n g s i n o r d e r f o r t h e p r o v i s i o n s o f t h e p o l i c y t o a p p l y . The following are p o l i c y conditions: "'1. HOW YOUR POLICY MAY BE CHANGED " ' 1 ( e ) The p o l i c y h o l d e r h a s a d u t y t o n o t i f y us as soon as p o s s i b l e o f a n y change w h i c h may a f f e c t t h e premium o r t h e r i s k under t h i s p o l i c y . . . . This i n c l u d e s , b u t i s n o t l i m i t e d t o , c h a n g e s i n ... (3) u s e o f t h e i n s u r e d v e h i c l e s . (Emphasis a d d e d [by the d i s t r i c t court].) "'DECEMBER 2 1 , 2007, APPLICATION "'I c e r t i f y that the vehicles l i s t e d f o r c o v e r a g e on t h i s p o l i c y a r e n o t u s e d for commercial use, the pick up a n d d e l i v e r y o f goods o r p e o p l e , w h i c h i n c l u d e s but i s not l i m i t e d to p i z z a , mail, newspapers[,] t a x i , debris/snow removal, for hire or fee.' 3 "At the time o f t h e December 2 1 , 2007, a p p l i c a t i o n , d e f e n d a n t Gooden's s o l e employment was w i t h a Honda s u p p l i e r named New S o u t h E x p r e s s . He was n o t d e l i v e r i n g n e w s p a p e r s o r o t h e r w i s e e n g a g i n g i n any c o m m e r c i a l a c t i v i t y o t h e r t h a n h i s j o b w i t h New S o u t h . The December 2 1 , 2007, a p p l i c a t i o n a n d a t t a c h m e n t s t o i t were t h e o n l y documents s i g n e d b y Gooden p r i o r t o t h e d a t e o f t h e a c c i d e n t . Gooden did n o t make any m i s r e p r e s e n t a t i o n s i n the a p p l i c a t i o n or i t s attachments. 4 " I n F e b r u a r y 2009, w h i l e c o n t i n u i n g t o work f u l l time f o r New S o u t h E x p r e s s , Gooden b e g a n t h e part-time j o b of d e l i v e r i n g the Talladega Daily or S y l a c a u g a D a i l y n e w s p a p e r ( s ) a b o u t one t o two h o u r s per n i g h t . N e i t h e r Gooden n o r h i s w i f e , a n o t h e r named i n s u r e d , e v e r n o t i f i e d N a t i o n w i d e t h a t he h a d begun d e l i v e r i n g n e w s p a p e r s . 4 1101332 "The s u b j e c t p o l i c y came up f o r f u r t h e r r e n e w a l on a b o u t J u l y 18, 2 0 0 9 . The o n l y r e n e w a l n o t i c e w h i c h [ N a t i o n w i d e ] s e n t t o Gooden was b a s i c a l l y a s t a t e m e n t o f t h e premium d u e . At the time of the J u l y 18, 2009, r e n e w a l , Gooden was s t i l l d e l i v e r i n g the Talladega/Sylacauga n e w s p a p e r s and was still w o r k i n g f u l l - t i m e f o r New S o u t h E x p r e s s . 5 6 "In August 2009, Gooden began delivering n e w s p a p e r s f o r The B i r m i n g h a m News. At about the same t i m e , he t e r m i n a t e d h i s employment w i t h New South Express, and t h e B i r m i n g h a m News d e l i v e r y became h i s o n l y j o b . No n o t i c e o f t h e B i r m i n g h a m News n e w s p a p e r d e l i v e r y was given to Nationwide p r i o r to the a c c i d e n t . "On O c t o b e r 9, 2009, Gooden's s e c o n d c h i l d was born. There i s a r e a s o n a b l e i n f e r e n c e t h a t t h i s e v e n t a f f e c t e d Gooden's n o r m a l n e w s p a p e r d e l i v e r y situation. T h i s e v e n t , c o u p l e d w i t h Gooden's n o t b e i n g a b l e t o remember a n y t h i n g f r o m S u n d a y n i g h t O c t o b e r 11, 2009 t o Wednesday O c t o b e r 14, 2009, creates d i f f i c u l t y with regard to determining the circumstances immediately p r i o r to the accident. Among t h e c i r c u m s t a n c e s w e r e : "(1) Gooden p l a n n e d on O c t o b e r 11, 2009, t o p i c k his w i f e up a t t h e h o s p i t a l on t h e m o r n i n g o f O c t o b e r 12, 2009. "(2) U n l i k e t h e u s u a l c i r c u m s t a n c e when h i s w i f e o r someone e l s e s t a y e d w i t h Gooden's o l d e r c h i l d and t o o k him t o day c a r e a t 6:00 a.m., Gooden c a r r i e d t h e c h i l d w i t h him on O c t o b e r 12, 2009, when he was d e l i v e r i n g n e w s p a p e r s and t h e c h i l d was w i t h Gooden at the time of the a c c i d e n t . T h i s change may have a f f e c t e d the t i m i n g of the d e l i v e r i e s . Gooden has no e x p l a n a t i o n as t o why he w o u l d have b e e n a t t h e l o c a t i o n of the a c c i d e n t a t the time of the a c c i d e n t o t h e r than i n c o n n e c t i o n w i t h newspaper d e l i v e r i e s . "The a c c i d e n t o c c u r r e d on H o u s t o n Road. Ms. Thomas was h e a d i n g n o r t h on H o u s t o n Road and Gooden was h e a d i n g s o u t h on H o u s t o n Road, b o t h n e a r t h e 5 1101332 i n t e r s e c t i o n o f H o u s t o n Road and McCedar Road. Ms. Thomas t e s t i f i e d t h a t t h e a c c i d e n t o c c u r r e d s o u t h o f t h e McCedar Road i n t e r s e c t i o n . " T h e r e i s no d i r e c t e v i d e n c e as t o why Gooden was on t h e wrong s i d e o f t h e r o a d as he a p p r o a c h e d Ms. Thomas' v e h i c l e . A possible inference i s that he had s t a r t e d t o t u r n l e f t t o go t o S p a r r o w Lane where he had c u s t o m e r s . Any d e t e r m i n a t i o n by t h e c o u r t as t o w h e t h e r d e l i v e r i e s had b e e n c o m p l e t e d w o u l d be p r i m a r i l y s p e c u l a t i v e . "At t h e t i m e o f t h e a c c i d e n t , Gooden was h e a d e d i n a d i r e c t i o n away f r o m b o t h h i s home and t h e day care center h i s c h i l d attended. "The p a r t i e s have a g r e e d t h a t t h e o n l y f a c t u a l d i s p u t e i s w h e t h e r Gooden was s t i l l i n t h e p r o c e s s of delivering newspapers at the time of the accident. He was e i t h e r s t i l l i n t h e p r o c e s s of delivering n e w s p a p e r s o r he had completed the d e l i v e r y and was p r o c e e d i n g b a c k home, t o t h e day care c e n t e r , or to another l o c a t i o n . T h e r e i s no q u e s t i o n t h a t H o u s t o n Road and S p a r r o w Lane were on Gooden's d e l i v e r y r o u t e . 7 "On October 13, 2009, a r e p r e s e n t a t i v e of Nationwide took a photograph of the inside of Gooden's v e h i c l e w h i c h r e v e a l e d a p p r o x i m a t e l y 15 B i r m i n g h a m News n e w s p a p e r s d a t e d O c t o b e r 12, 2009. Gooden n o r m a l l y c a r r i e d 129 n e w s p a p e r s p l u s some excess newspapers t o cover unexpected c i r c u m s t a n c e s . Gooden t e s t i f i e d , w i t h o u t r e b u t t a l , t h a t he c o u l d n o t t h i n k o f any r e a s o n he w o u l d have b e e n o u t a t 5:30 a.m. on October 12, 2009 o t h e r than in c o n n e c t i o n w i t h d e l i v e r i n g n e w s p a p e r s . T h e r e was no evidence at trial as to the location of the hospital. The n e w s p a p e r s were p i c k e d up a t a l o c a t i o n n o r t h o f t h e i n s u r e d ' s h o u s e and, c o n t r a r y t o some s u g g e s t i o n s i n argument a t t r i a l , d e l i v e r i e s b e g a n s u b s t a n t i a l l y n o r t h o f McCedar Road. "The insured's Birmingham News supervisor t e s t i f i e d t h a t i f t h e i n s u r e d was i n t h e a r e a o f t h e 6 1101332 a c c i d e n t he w o u l d have c o m p l e t e d h i s d e l i v e r y r o u t e . This i s perhaps i n c o n s i s t e n t w i t h the f a c t o f there b e i n g c u s t o m e r s on H o u s t o n Road a n d S p a r r o w L a n e . Gooden t e s t i f i e d t h a t he n o r m a l l y w o u l d have been t o H o u s t o n Road b y 1:00 t o 1:30 a.m. a n d t h a t he knew o f no r e a s o n f o r h i m t o be t h e r e a t 5:30 a.m. a n d h a d 'no i d e a ' why he was. Gooden's s u p e r v i s o r o f f e r e d t e s t i m o n y t h a t she d i d n o t r e c e i v e any c a l l s a b o u t m i s s e d d e l i v e r i e s on O c t o b e r 12 a n d t h a t w o u l d n o r m a l l y o c c u r i f t h e r e had been such m i s s e s . Gooden t e s t i f i e d t h a t he was u s u a l l y b a c k home b y 5:30 a.m. Gooden p i c k e d up h i s n e w s p a p e r s a t a s p o t n o r t h o f h i s house. The a c c i d e n t l o c a t i o n was substantially south o f h i s house. Gooden h a s t e s t i f i e d , a n d t h e c o u r t b e l i e v e s , t h a t he n e v e r read the subject p o l i c y . Gooden was p a i d b y t h e B i r m i n g h a m News b a s e d upon t h e number o f n e w s p a p e r s he d e l i v e r e d r e g a r d l e s s o f t h e l o c a t i o n o f t h e customers. "Positions of the Parties "[Nationwide's] Positions " 1 . T h e r e i s no c o v e r a g e b e c a u s e t h e p o l i c y p r o v i d e s t h a t coverage i s excluded because t h e p o l i c y s t a t e s , ' T h i s c o v e r a g e does n o t a p p l y t o : Use o f any m o t o r v e h i c l e t o c a r r y p e r s o n s o r p r o p e r t y f o r a f e e . ' F u r t h e r , t h e e x c l u s i o n a p p l i e s even i f a c t u a l d e l i v e r y h a s b e e n c o n c l u d e d a n d Gooden was r e t u r n i n g home o r g o i n g e l s e w h e r e . "2. T h e r e i s no c o v e r a g e b e c a u s e t h e i n s u r e d d i d n o t n o t i f y [ N a t i o n w i d e ] 'as s o o n as p o s s i b l e o f a n y change w h i c h may a f f e c t t h e premium o r r i s k u n d e r this policy. This includes, but i s not l i m i t e d t o , changes i n use of the insured vehicles.' [ N a t i o n w i d e ] makes t h i s c l a i m w i t h r e g a r d t o t h e insured's f a i l u r e to n o t i f y [Nationwide] p r i o r to t h e J u l y 2009 r e n e w a l o f t h e p o l i c y t h a t he was delivering papers f o r the Talladega/Sylacauga n e w s p a p e r s . [ N a t i o n w i d e ] a l s o makes t h i s c l a i m w i t h 7 1101332 regard to the f a i l u r e of the insured t o n o t i f y [ N a t i o n w i d e ] t h a t t h e i n s u r e d h a d begun d e l i v e r i n g n e w s p a p e r s f o r t h e B i r m i n g h a m News a f t e r t h e l a s t renewal. A n y s u c h c l a i m as t o t h e B i r m i n g h a m News l a c k s m e r i t because t h i s d e l i v e r y began a f t e r t h e J u l y 2009 r e n e w a l a n d b e f o r e t h e n e x t scheduled renewal. [ N a t i o n w i d e ] has acknowledged t h a t t h e July 2009 renewal could n o t be c a n c e l l e d o r i n v a l i d a t e d f o r t h i s i n t e r v e n i n g reason p r i o r t o the next scheduled renewal date. 8 "Cases C i t e d by Co., [Nationwide] " 1 . Twin C i t y F i r e I n s . Co. v. A l f a M u t u a l I n s . 817 So. 2d 687 ( A l a . 2 0 0 1 ) . "[Nationwide] c i t e s t h i s case w i t h r e f e r e n c e t o g e n e r a l Alabama l a w r e g a r d i n g enforcement o f p o l i c y language, a m b i g u i t i e s , e t c . This court a p p l i e s the principles of this case as t o some general p r i n c i p l e s , b u t n o t n e c e s s a r i l y as t o t h e s p e c i f i c issues c e r t i f i e d . 757 "2. A l f a L i f e ( A l a . 2005) . I n s . C o r p . v. L e w i s , 910 So. 2d " T h i s c a s e i n v o l v e s m i s r e p r e s e n t a t i o n s made b y insureds. T h e r e were no s u c h m i s r e p r e s e n t a t i o n s i n t h i s case. 242 "3. Ex p a r t e Q u a l i t y C a s . I n s . Co., 962 So. 2d ( A l a . 2006). "This case h o l d s t h a t m i s r e p r e s e n t a t i o n s a p p l i c a t i o n s f o r t h e i n i t i a l p o l i c y c a r r y over renewals. T h e r e have b e e n no m i s r e p r e s e n t a t i o n s t h i s case. [ N a t i o n w i d e ' s ] r e l i a n c e on t h i s c a s e unfounded. in to in is "4. J o h n s o n v. A l l s t a t e I n s . Co., 505 So. 2d 362 (Ala. 1987). 8 1101332 "This case stands f o r the p r o p o s i t i o n that c o v e r a g e c a n n o t be e n l a r g e d b y w a i v e r o r e s t o p p e l . I t a p p a r e n t l y h a s more a p p l i c a t i o n t o e x c l u s i o n s than t o c o n d i t i o n s o r f u r t h e r requirements imposed on i n s u r e d s . I t may a l s o have some a p p l i c a t i o n t o the p r i m a r y i s s u e , b u t n o t t o t h e secondary i s s u e . 369 "5. W o o d a l l v. A l f a Mut. I n s . Co., 658 So. 2d ( A l a . 1995). not "This case h o l d s t h a t w a i v e r and e s t o p p e l a r e a p p l i c a b l e t o unambiguous e x c l u s i o n s . "6. L i b e r t y Mut. F i r e I n s . Co. v . P a r i s h , 630 So. 2d 437 ( A l a . 1 9 9 3 ) . G i v e s a n o t h e r r e a s o n why e s t o p p e l a n d w a i v e r do n o t a p p l y t o e x c l u s i o n s . 472 "7. See a l s o McGee v. G u a r d i a n L i f e I n s . Co., So. 2d 993 ( A l a . 1985) ( r e g a r d i n g w a i v e r ) . "Defendants' P o s i t i o n s "Defendants maintain t h a t the ' c a r r y i n g p r o p e r t y f o r a f e e ' e x c l u s i o n i s ambiguous a n d n o t a p p l i c a b l e to their claims or otherwise enforceable. Defendants f u r t h e r maintain t h a t the i n s u r e d had completed d e l i v e r y o f newspapers a t t h e time o f t h e a c c i d e n t a n d t h u s c o u l d n o t be c o n s i d e r e d t o have been, a t t h a t time, c a r r y i n g p r o p e r t y f o r a fee, o r t o be s u b j e c t t o i n v a l i d a t i o n o f c o v e r a g e f o r l a c k of g i v i n g n o t i c e o f a change. "Defendants a l s o argue t h a t [Nationwide] waived any e x c l u s i o n a n d / o r c o n d i t i o n o f t h e p o l i c y b y p a y i n g m e d i c a l expenses a f t e r t h e a c c i d e n t and by r e c e i v i n g a n d r e t a i n i n g premiums f o r t h e p o l i c y . Defendants a l s o argue t h a t a commercial p o l i c y would n o t r e q u i r e a h i g h e r premium t h a n t h e p e r s o n a l t y p e p o l i c y t h a t t h e i n s u r e d h a d . [The c o u r t f i n d s t h a t a c o m m e r c i a l p o l i c y w o u l d r e q u i r e a h i g h e r premium.] 9 1101332 "The d e f e n d a n t s a l s o a s s e r t t h a t t h e p o l i c y ' s notice to [Nationwide] provisions are not enforceable. [The c o u r t a g r e e s w i t h t h i s p o s i t i o n . ] The d e f e n d a n t s may have a l s o p i c k e d up on q u e s t i o n s by t h e c o u r t a n d now a r g u e t h a t t h e A l a b a m a s t a t u t e s w i t h regard t o mandatory insurance and u n i n s u r e d m o t o r i s t have some r e l e v a n c e . "Cases C i t e d By D e f e n d a n t s Fire " 1 . B l u e Mound Farm S u p p l y Co. v. F a r m e r s ' Mut. I n s . Co., 219 N.W. 357, 360 ( 1 9 2 8 ) . " C i t e d f o r t h e p r o p o s i t i o n t h a t an e x c l u s i o n o r change does n o t a l w a y s a v o i d p o l i c y c o v e r a g e b u t merely suspends i t during the actual time o f carrying. "2. T r i n i t y U n i v e r s a l I n s . Co. v. D a n i e l , S.W.2d 266, 267 (Tex. C i v . App. 1947) 2 02 " C i t e d f o r s i m i l a r r e a s o n as B l u e Mound. "3. Z u r i c h Gen. A c c i d e n t & L i a b . I n s . Co. L t d . Of Z u r i c h , S w i t z e r l a n d v. F l i c k i n g e r , 33 F.2d 853, 856 ( 4 t h C i r . 1 9 2 9 ) . "'And i t i s w e l l s e t t l e d t h a t s t a t e m e n t s i n an a p p l i c a t i o n f o r a p o l i c y which i s renewed r e l a t e t o the time when t h e o r i g i n a l p o l i c y i s i s s u e d ; and, i f t h e y were t r u e a t t h a t t i m e , i t i s no d e f e n s e t h a t t h e y may n o t have b e e n t r u e l a t e r o r at the time of the renewal.' ( C i t a t i o n s omitted). " 592, "4. M i l b a n k Mut. I n s . Co. v. Wentz, 596 ( 8 t h C i r . 1 9 6 5 ) . 10 352 F.2d 1101332 " M i l b a n k does n o t i n v o l v e an e x c l u s i o n . N.E. "5. P r e f e r r e d R i s k Mut. I n s . Co. v. H i t e s , 2d 815, 820 (111. App. C t . 1 9 7 0 ) . 259 " T h i s c a s e has some r e l e v a n c e t o p l a i n t i f f ' s p o s i t i o n w i t h r e g a r d t o any d u t y o f t h e i n s u r e d t o n o t i f y o f changes. [ T h i s court agrees that the n o t i f i c a t i o n o f change p r o v i s i o n s o f t h i s p o l i c y a r e ambiguous i n n o t s t a t i n g m a t t e r s r e l a t i n g t o t h e r e q u i r e d time of n o t i c e , nor the e f f e c t of a f a i l u r e to n o t i f y . Further, the p r o v i s i o n s i n a p p r o p r i a t e l y p u t a b u r d e n on t h e i n s u r e d t o d e t e r m i n e m a t e r i a l r i s k and t h e e f f e c t on premiums. T h e r e may a l s o be ambiguity w i t h regard t o the term 'use.'] "Status o f Alabama Law "The parties have cited little, i f any, c o n t r o l l i n g A l a b a m a l a w on t h e c e r t i f i e d i s s u e s ( s ) . 9 " F o r s e v e r a l y e a r s p r i o r t o December 2007, Gooden h a d one v e h i c l e i n s u r e d by [ N a t i o n w i d e ] . His l i a b i l i t y c o v e r a g e was $ 2 5 , 0 0 0 / $ 5 0 , 0 0 0 . On J a n u a r y 18, 2008, a new p o l i c y a d d e d a n o t h e r v e h i c l e and increased the l i a b i l i t y coverage to $300,000/ $300,000. N a t i o n w i d e a l s o i s s u e d a new one m i l l i o n d o l l a r u m b r e l l a p o l i c y t o Gooden a t t h e same t i m e . T h e r e was some c o n f u s i o n a t t r i a l as t o w h e t h e r Gooden h a d been a N a t i o n w i d e i n s u r e d f o r 9 y e a r s p r i o r t o December 2007. Gooden s a y s he b e g a n t h i s r e l a t i o n s h i p i n 2003. The c o n f u s i o n l i k e l y a r i s e s b e c a u s e t h e T h o m a s [ e s ' ] a t t o r n e y r e a d '9 [ 6 - m o n t h ] t e r m s ' as 9 y e a r s . 2 " Note that the provision i s n o t as application. 3 above-stated specific as 11 notification that i n the 1101332 " [Nationwide] does not claim that Gooden m i s r e p r e s e n t e d a n y t h i n g i n t h e December 2 1 , 2007, application. The court concludes that the ' a p p l i c a t i o n ' h a s no ' a p p l i c a t i o n ' t o t h i s c a s e . 4 " The t h i r d r e n e w a l a f t e r t h e J a n u a r y 18, 2008, issuance. 5 " T h e r e i s no e v i d e n c e t h a t N a t i o n w i d e e v e r s e n t Gooden any renewal notice or other document r e g a r d i n g use o f the automobile a f t e r t h e January 2008 i s s u a n c e o f t h e p o l i c y and p r i o r t o t h e accident. Any s u c h l a n g u a g e t h a t N a t i o n w i d e e v e r g a v e o r s e n t t o Gooden was i n c l u d e d o n l y i n t h e a p p l i c a t i o n a n d t h e p o l i c y i s s u e d i n J a n u a r y 2008. 6 " T h i s c r e a t e s a f u r t h e r i s s u e as t o w h e t h e r p r o c e e d i n g f r o m where he made h i s l a s t d e l i v e r y t o h i s home o r a n o t h e r l o c a t i o n w o u l d be c o n s i d e r e d part of the d e l i v e r y process. Even i f t h e p r i m a r y i s s u e i s d e t e r m i n e d t o be t h a t t h e e x c l u s i o n i s g e n e r a l l y enforceable, the secondary issue i s s t i l l not answered. 7 " This is distinguished from argued i n v a l i d a t i o n s b a s e d on t h e f a i l u r e t o n o t i f y o f t h e o t h e r n e w s p a p e r d e l i v e r i e s p r i o r t o J u l y 2009 a n d from t h e c a r r y i n g o f p r o p e r t y f o r a f e e e x c l u s i o n . 8 " The c o u r t n o t e s t h a t some h e l p may be o f f e r e d i n C o u c h on I n s u r a n c e , T h i r d E d i t i o n a t s e c t i o n s 29:32, 119.75, 119.76 a n d 120.34. The i s s u e s a r e also discussed a t 57 A.L.R. 5 t h 591 [(1998)]. J o h n s o n v. A l l s t a t e I n s . Co., 505 So. 2d 362 ( A l a . 1987), lists several factors which should be considered i n determining the e n f o r c e a b i l i t y of 'carrying for a fee.' These i n c l u d e : (1) w h e t h e r t h e amount c h a r g e d was d e f i n i t e ; (2) p r o p o r t i o n a t e t o t h e t r i p ; (3) v o l u n t a r y o r p a i d t o t h e d r i v e r as c o n s i d e r a t i o n ; a n d (4) w h e t h e r t h e d r i v e r and p a s s e n g e r s were e n g a g e d i n a common e n t e r p r i s e . As 9 12 1101332 s t a t e d , t h e c a s e does n o t a d d r e s s t h e s e c o n d a r y issue. F o r a good g e n e r a l d i s c u s s i o n , s e e RPM P i z z a , I n c . v. [ A u t o m o t i v e ] C a s u a l t y I n s . Co., 601 So. 2d [1366] [ ( L a . 1 9 9 2 ) ] . " III. Analysis T h i s C o u r t has a g r e e d t o p r o v i d e as t o t h e two c e r t i f i e d questions. c o n t r o l l i n g Alabama law 1 A. Q u e s t i o n No. 1: Whether t h e C a r r y - F o r - A - F e e E x c l u s i o n A p p l i e s t o Newspaper D e l i v e r y N a t i o n w i d e M u t u a l I n s u r a n c e Company ( " N a t i o n w i d e " ) that the clause i n i t spolicy excluding coverage argues i f the i n s u r e d i s engaged i n t h e " c a r r y i n g o f p e r s o n s o r p r o p e r t y f o r a f e e " ("the c a r r y - f o r - a - f e e e x c l u s i o n " ) enforceable as to Gooden, who was i s unambiguous a n d i s employed to deliver newspapers, who was c o m p e n s a t e d b y t h e number o f n e w s p a p e r s delivered, and deliveries. who Scott used h i s personal Thomas a n d L o r i vehicle f o r those T o u a r t Thomas a r g u e that N a t i o n w i d e M u t u a l I n s u r a n c e Company r a i s e s an i s s u e i n i t s b r i e f as t o K e n n e t h Gene Gooden, J r . ' s a l l e g e d f a i l u r e t o c o m p l y w i t h t h e n o t i c e p r o v i s i o n s o f t h e p o l i c y , an i s s u e t h e d i s t r i c t c o u r t h a s a l r e a d y r e s o l v e d ; S c o t t Thomas a n d L o r i Touart Thomas raise i n their b r i e f the issue whether N a t i o n w i d e h a s met i t s b u r d e n o f p r o v i n g t h a t t h i s p a r t i c u l a r l o s s f e l l w i t h i n t h e c a r r y - f o r - a - f e e e x c l u s i o n , a m a t t e r we l e a v e t o be r e s o l v e d b y t h e d i s t r i c t c o u r t . 1 13 1101332 t h e c a r r y - f o r - a - f e e e x c l u s i o n i s ambiguous and t h e r e f o r e , argue, not This enforceable. Court exclusionary vehicle Fidelity to & Guaranty rehearing). the persons Co. (1936), the i n s u r a n c e i n s u r e d v e h i c l e was previously when transport consideration." 2 has clause they v. addressed insured for a Hearn, was using fee. 233 a In Ala. similar a personal United 31, States 170 So. 59 p o l i c y at i s s u e e x c l u d e d coverage i f the being 233 used " f o r c a r r y i n g passengers f o r a Ala. at 33, 170 So. at 60 (opinion Hearn used h i s a u t o m o b i l e t o t r a v e l w i t h on several p a s s e n g e r s f r o m A l a b a m a t o a t t e n d a Rose B o w l f o o t b a l l game i n California. paid Hearn's l i v i n g from j o i n t funds e x p e n s e s on contributed by to the trip was to be trip were t o h i s passengers. C o u r t f o u n d t h a t t h e p a r t i e s a g r e e d and contribution the intended his be This t h a t Hearn's automobile and his s e r v i c e s i n d r i v i n g ; t h e r e f o r e , t h e y c o n c l u d e d , t h e payment o f his e x p e n s e s was exchange f o r the not consideration trip. Stating p a i d by that the passengers i n "[e]ach enterprise a d v e n t u r e i s t o be j u d g e d on i t s p a r t i c u l a r f a c t s , " t h e not Court A l t h o u g h Gooden i s named as a p a r t y i n t h i s c a s e , he f i l e d a b r i e f with t h i s Court. 2 14 or has 1101332 h e l d t h a t the c a r r y - f o r - a - f e e e x c l u s i o n d i d not a p p l y because " a l l t h e p a r t i e s who went were e n g a g e d i n a common e n t e r p r i s e or j o i n t adventure f o r p l e a s u r e . " 61 ( o p i n i o n on 233 A l a . a t 34, 170 So. a t rehearing). I n I m p e r i a l A s s u r a n c e Co. v. P e r r y , 2d 394 252 A l a . 424, (1949), the i n s u r a n c e p o l i c y e x c l u d e d coverage t h e t i m e t h e i n s u r e d v e h i c l e was b e i n g u s e d " t o c a r r y for 41 a charge." obtained a taxi 252 A l a . a t 425, 41 So. 2d So. during persons a t 395. Perry l i c e n s e when he p u r c h a s e d an a u t o m o b i l e , b u t t h e e v i d e n c e i n d i c a t e d t h a t he had u s e d t h e a u t o m o b i l e o n l y t o transport his friends and had transport paying passengers. never While a u t o m o b i l e t o p i c k up h i s w i f e , was a nonpaying vehicle passenger, accident. e x c l u s i o n was This used his a c c o m p a n i e d by a f r i e n d who was Court h e l d and further held automobile "to c a r r y persons (Ala. Johnson 1987), involved that that prove t h a t , a t the time of the a c c i d e n t , In was to driving Perry Perry automobile the in a motor- carry-for-a-fee " b a s e d on t h e use o f t h e a u t o m o b i l e a t t h e t i m e of the a c c i d e n t " the the v. this Allstate Court t h e i n s u r e d was f o r a charge." Insurance recognized 15 the evidence d i d not Co., 505 that, using Id. So. as 2d to 362 the 1101332 transporting similar of children carry-for-a-fee i n s u r e r was entitled to and from exclusion to limit a was clear daily parents $1.00 service. to per while day-care center, i n s u r e d was The from child When t h e accident and he was the way was insurer provision and that for involved the transport center, this charging transportation in a motor-vehicle children enrolled in declined a exclusion. v e h i c l e to day-care transporting " c a r r y i n g " the liability his each insured center, coverage under the In Johnson, the i n s u r e d used h i s p e r s o n a l children day-care coverage the because the c h i l d r e n i n e x c h a n g e f o r payment. of the policy in Johnson excluded l i a b i l i t y f o r the i n s u r e d v e h i c l e "while used to c a r r y persons or p r o p e r t y f o r a charge," but "shared expense car p o o l s . " of Likewise, t h a t p o l i c y excluded coverage transportation exclusion 505 the e x c l u s i o n So. In of a l s o d i d not 2d a t or apply to to the c o l l i s i o n p r o v i s i o n f o r "any property apply for auto used f o r a fee," but "shared expense car the that pools." 364. Johnson, applicable people d i d not to the this Court reviewed i n t e r p r e t a t i o n o f an 16 the general principles insurance p o l i c y : 1101332 "Any a m b i g u i t i e s i n an i n s u r a n c e c o n t r a c t must be c o n s t r u e d l i b e r a l l y i n favor of the insured. U n i t e d S t a t e s F i d e l i t y & G u a r a n t y Co. v. B a k e r , 2 4 A l a . App. 274, 134 So. 894, c e r t . d e n i e d 223 A l a . 172, 134 So. 896 ( 1 9 3 1 ) . A corollary to this rule i s t h a t e x c e p t i o n s t o c o v e r a g e must be i n t e r p r e t e d as n a r r o w l y as p o s s i b l e i n o r d e r t o p r o v i d e maximum c o v e r a g e t o t h e i n s u r e d . However, c o u r t s a r e n o t a t l i b e r t y t o r e w r i t e p o l i c i e s t o provide coverage not i n t e n d e d by t h e p a r t i e s . Newman v . S t . P a u l F i r e & M a r i n e I n s u r a n c e Co., 456 So. 2d 40, 41 ( A l a . 1984) . In t h e absence o f s t a t u t o r y p r o v i s i o n s t o t h e contrary, insurance c o m p a n i e s have t h e r i g h t t o l i m i t t h e i r l i a b i l i t y and w r i t e p o l i c i e s w i t h narrow coverage. U n i t e d S t a t e s F i d e l i t y & G u a r a n t y Co. v. B o n i t z I n s u l a t i o n Co. o f A l a b a m a , 424 So. 2d 569, 573 ( A l a . 1 9 8 2 ) . I f t h e r e i s no a m b i g u i t y , courts must e n f o r c e insurance c o n t r a c t s as w r i t t e n a n d cannot defeat express provisions i n a policy, i n c l u d i n g e x c l u s i o n s f r o m c o v e r a g e , b y m a k i n g a new contract f o r the p a r t i e s . T u r n e r v. U n i t e d S t a t e s F i d e l i t y & G u a r a n t y Co., 440 So. 2d 1026, 1028 ( A l a . 1983) . "We have c o n s i s t e n t l y h e l d t h a t c o v e r a g e u n d e r an i n s u r a n c e p o l i c y c a n n o t be e n l a r g e d b y w a i v e r o r e s t o p p e l , s i n c e t h e s e d o c t r i n e s c a n have a f i e l d o f o p e r a t i o n o n l y when t h e s u b j e c t m a t t e r i s w i t h i n t h e terms of t h e p o l i c y . M o o r a d i a n v. C a n a l I n s u r a n c e Co., 272 A l a . 373, 379, 130 So. 2d 915, 920 ( 1 9 6 1 ) . The reason behind t h i s r u l e i s t h a t w a i v e r and e s t o p p e l c a n n o t o p e r a t e t o change t h e t e r m s o f a p o l i c y so as t o c o v e r a d d i t i o n a l m a t t e r . Hanover F i r e I n s u r a n c e Co. o f New Y o r k v . S a l t e r , 254 A l a . 500, 505, 49 So. 2d 193, 197 ( 1 9 5 0 ) . " 505 So. 2d a t 365. before it, this Applying those principles i n Court i n Johnson h e l d : 17 to the f a c t s 1101332 "What i s c e n t r a l t o t h i s a p p e a l i s w h e t h e r t h e amount c h a r g e d was a d e f i n i t e amount, w h e t h e r i t was p r o p o r t i o n a t e t o the a c t u a l expenses o f t h e t r i p , w h e t h e r i t was v o l u n t a r y o r , r a t h e r , was p a i d a s c o n s i d e r a t i o n t o t h e d r i v e r , and whether t h e d r i v e r and p a s s e n g e r s were e n g a g e d i n a common e n t e r p r i s e . Johnson's d e p o s i t i o n demonstrates t h a t t h e d o l l a r p e r t r i p was a d e f i n i t e amount u n r e l a t e d t o h i s actual expenses, paid as consideration for t r a n s p o r t i n g s t u d e n t s who were n o t e n g a g e d i n a common e n t e r p r i s e w i t h h i m . Under t h i s e v i d e n c e , t h e r e i s no q u e s t i o n t h a t a n y c l a i m s a r i s i n g o u t o f t h i s a c c i d e n t a r e e x c l u d e d under t h e l i a b i l i t y and c o l l i s i o n coverages of the p o l i c y . "The a u t o m o b i l e l i a b i l i t y i n s u r a n c e p o l i c y a t i s s u e here c l e a r l y l i m i t s t h e r i s k s c o v e r e d by e x c l u d i n g from coverage v e h i c l e s which a r e used t o transport paying passengers. Under A l a b a m a l a w , i n s u r e r s have t h e r i g h t t o s o l i m i t t h e i r l i a b i l i t y . C o u r t s w h i c h have i n t e r p r e t e d p o l i c i e s w i t h s i m i l a r e x c l u s i o n a r y c l a u s e s have r e c o g n i z e d t h i s l i m i t a t i o n on coverage by d e t e r m i n i n g that, although the l i m i t a t i o n does n o t a p p l y t o p l e a s u r e t r i p s made b y f r i e n d s o r r e l a t i v e s o r t o c a r p o o l s i t u a t i o n s where t h e amount c o l l e c t e d b y t h e d r i v e r i s p r o p o r t i o n a t e to t h e expense o f t h e journey, t h e r i s k s a s s o c i a t e d w i t h v e h i c l e s used t o c a r r y paying passengers f o r a s e t f e e do n o t come w i t h i n t h e r i s k s c o v e r e d b y s u c h policies." 505 So. 2d a t 367. The exclusion question may now b e f o r e be e n f o r c e d us i s w h e t h e r a c a r r y - f o r - a - f e e i n t h e case o f an i n s u r e d who d e l i v e r s n e w s p a p e r s a n d i s c o m p e n s a t e d b a s e d on t h e number o f newspapers d e l i v e r e d . In order 18 t o answer t h a t question, we 1101332 must d e t e r m i n e Nationwide Co. whether the c a r r y - f o r - a - f e e e x c l u s i o n i n the p o l i c y i s ambiguous. v. A l f a M u t u a l 2001), this insurance Court I n Twin C i t y F i r e Insurance Insurance Co., 817 So. 2d 687, 692 discussed the issue of ambiguity (Ala. i n an policy: " I f an i n s u r a n c e p o l i c y i s c l e a r a n d unambiguous in i t s terms, then there i s no q u e s t i o n o f i n t e r p r e t a t i o n or c o n s t r u c t i o n . American & Foreign I n s . Co. v. Tee J a y s M f g . Co., 699 So. 2d 1226 ( A l a . 1997). The f a c t t h a t t h e p a r t i e s i n t e r p r e t t h e i n s u r a n c e p o l i c y d i f f e r e n t l y does n o t make t h e i n s u r a n c e p o l i c y ambiguous. T a t e v. A l l s t a t e I n s . Co., 692 So. 2d 822 ( A l a . 1997) . W h i l e a m b i g u i t i e s or u n c e r t a i n t i e s i n an i n s u r a n c e p o l i c y s h o u l d be resolved against the insurer, ambiguities are not t o be inserted by s t r a i n e d or t w i s t e d reasoning. K e l l e y v. R o y a l G l o b e I n s . Co., 349 So. 2d 561 ( A l a . 1977). Where t h e p a r t i e s d i s a g r e e on w h e t h e r t h e l a n g u a g e i n an i n s u r a n c e c o n t r a c t i s a m b i g u o u s , a court should construe language a c c o r d i n g t o the meaning t h a t a p e r s o n o f o r d i n a r y i n t e l l i g e n c e would r e a s o n a b l y g i v e i t . W e s t e r n W o r l d I n s . Co. v. C i t y o f T u s c u m b i a , 612 So. 2d 1159 ( A l a . 1 9 9 2 ) . " "Where an i n s u r a n c e p o l i c y d e f i n e s c e r t a i n words o r p h r a s e s , a c o u r t must d e f e r t o t h e d e f i n i t i o n p r o v i d e d by t h e p o l i c y . S t . Paul F i r e & Marine I n s . Co. v . Edge Mem'l Hosp., 584 So. 2d 1316 ( A l a . 1991). ... I f [a w o r d o r p h r a s e ] was d e f i n e d we would d e f e r t o t h e d e f i n i t i o n p r o v i d e d by the policy. S t . P a u l F i r e & M a r i n e I n s . Co. v. Edge Mem'l Hosp. , s u p r a . [ I f ] i t i s n o t , we must determine t h e meaning o f t h e phrase. An u n d e f i n e d w o r d o r p h r a s e i n an i n s u r a n c e p o l i c y does n o t 19 1101332 c r e a t e an i n h e r e n t a m b i g u i t y . To t h e c o n t r a r y , where q u e s t i o n s a r i s e as t o t h e m e a n i n g o f an u n d e f i n e d word o r p h r a s e , t h e c o u r t s h o u l d simply g i v e t h e u n d e f i n e d w o r d o r p h r a s e t h e same m e a n i n g that a person o f o r d i n a r y i n t e l l i g e n c e would give it. C a r p e t I n s t a l l a t i o n & S u p p l i e s o f G l e n c o v. A l f a Mut. I n s . Co., 628 So. 2d 560 ( A l a . 1 9 9 3 ) . " A l t h o u g h t h e N a t i o n w i d e p o l i c y does n o t d e f i n e t h e t e r m s u s e d i n t h e c a r r y - f o r - a - f e e e x c l u s i o n , t h e terms a r e n o t u n u s u a l , t e c h n i c a l , or otherwise unclear. ordinary i n t e l l i g e n c e would We c o n c l u d e t h a t a p e r s o n o f interpret e x c l u s i o n t o mean t h a t an i n s u r a n c e clause covered will not provide motor newspapers, therefore, nor f o r which neither policy containing coverage to carry-for-a-fee i f the insured transport the insured the carry-for-a-fee used the property, receives such a such as compensation; exclusion as a w h o l e t h e i n d i v i d u a l terms i n t h e e x c l u s i o n a r e ambiguous. Whether applied a to a determination, The vehicle the finder particular specific as H e a r n , of fact insured excluded use. Johnson specific carry-for-a-fee insured, Perry, i n each however, is a case fact-driven must determine whether d i d i n f a c t put a covered v e h i c l e our a p p l i c a t i o n 20 c a n be a n d J o h n s o n a l l make c l e a r . B a s e d upon o u r h o l d i n g s a n d upon exclusion a t o an i n Hearn, P e r r y , and of t h i s Court's caselaw 1101332 concerning t h e i n t e r p r e t a t i o n o f an i n s u r a n c e c o n c l u d e t h a t t h e answer t o t h e f i r s t yes: A clause i n an a u t o m o b i l e certified policy, we question i s liability-insurance policy e x c l u d i n g coverage f o r t h e "use o f any motor v e h i c l e t o c a r r y persons or property f o r a f e e " c a n be e n f o r c e d insured i f the finder of fact concludes that as t o an the insured d e l i v e r s n e w s p a p e r s f o r a f e e a n d t h a t t h e i n s u r e d was u s i n g the covered accident. vehicle f o r that purpose a t the time of the 3 O t h e r j u r i s d i c t i o n s have r e a c h e d s i m i l a r c o n c l u s i o n s . See, e . g . , U n i t e d S t a t e s v . M i l w a u k e e G u a r d i a n I n s . Co., 966 F.2d 1246 ( 8 t h C i r . 1 9 9 2 ) ; A m e r i s u r e I n s . Co. v . G r a f f C h e v r o l e t , I n c . , 257 M i c h . App. 5 8 5 , 669 N.W.2d 304, 309-10 (2003) , r e v ' d on o t h e r g r o u n d s , 469 M i c h . 1003, 674 N.W.2d 379 (2004) ; S t r a d e r v . P r o g r e s s i v e I n s . , 230 S.W.3d 621 (Mo. C t . App. 2 0 0 7 ) ; P r o g r e s s i v e U n i v e r s a l I n s . Co. o f I l l . v . L i b e r t y Mut. F i r e I n s . Co., 347 I l l . App. 3 d 411, 282 I l l . Dec. 636, 805 N.E.2d 1224 ( 2 0 0 4 ) ; A l m e n d r a l v . S e c u r i t y N a t ' l I n s . Co., 704 So. 2d 728 ( F l a . D i s t . C t . App. 1 9 9 8 ) . B u t see, e.g., P r o g r e s s i v e Cas. I n s . Co. v . M e t c a l f , 501 N.W. 690 (Minn. C t . App. 1 9 9 3 ) ; RPM P i z z a , I n c . v . A u t o m o t i v e Cas. I n s . Co., 601 So. 2d 1366 ( L a . 1 9 9 2 ) ; U n i t e d S t a t e s F i d e l i t y & G u a r a n t y Co. v. L i g h t n i n g Rod Mut. I n s . Co., 80 O h i o S t . 3 d 584, 687 N.E.2d 717 ( 1 9 9 7 ) ; P r u d e n t i a l P r o p . & Cas. I n s . Co. v . S a r t n o , 588 Pa. 2 0 5 , 903 A . 2 d 1170 ( 2 0 0 6 ) ; U n i t e d S e r v s . A u t o . A s s ' n v . C o u c h , 643 S.W.2d 668 (Tenn. C t . App. 1 9 8 2 ) ; P i z z a H u t o f A m e r i c a , I n c . v . West Gen. I n s . Co., 3 6 A r k . App. 16, 816 S.W.2d 638 ( 1 9 9 1 ) ; F i r s t G e o r g i a I n s . Co. v . Goodrum, 187 Ga. App. 314, 370 S.E.2d 162 ( 1 9 8 8 ) ; P r o g r e s s i v e G u l f I n s . Co. v . We C a r e Day C a r e C t r . , I n c . , 953 So. 2 d 250 ( M i s s . C t . App. 2007) . 3 21 1101332 B. Q u e s t i o n No. 2: Whether t h e C a r r y - F o r - A - F e e E x c l u s i o n A p p l i e s A f t e r D e l i v e r y Is Complete Alabama insurance law concerning policy i s well exclusions from coverage in an settled. "'Exceptions t o c o v e r a g e must be i n t e r p r e t e d as n a r r o w l y as p o s s i b l e i n o r d e r t o p r o v i d e maximum maxi c o v e r a g e f o r t h e i n s u r e d , and must be c o n s t r u e d most s t r o n g l y a g a i n s t t h e company t h a t drew t h e p o l i c y and i s s u e d i t . ' A l l i a n c e I n s . Co. v. R e y n o l d s , 494 So. 2d 609, 612 ( A l a . 1986) . Where t h e r e i s no a m b i g u i t y i n t h e t e r m s o f an i n s u r a n c e c o n t r a c t , t h e l a n g u a g e must be e n f o r c e d as w r i t t e n , and courts cannot defeat express p r o v i s i o n s in a policy, i n c l u d i n g e x c l u s i o n s f r o m c o v e r a g e , by m a k i n g a new c o n t r a c t f o r t h e p a r t i e s ; h o w e v e r , '"when a m b i g u i t y exists in the language of an exclusion, the e x c l u s i o n w i l l be c o n s t r u e d so as t o l i m i t the e x c l u s i o n to the narrowest a p p l i c a t i o n reasonable under the wording."' Carpet I n s t a l l a t i o n & S u p p l i e s o f G l e n c o v. A l f a Mut. I n s . Co., 628 So. 2d 560, 562 ( A l a . 1993) ( q u o t i n g S t . P a u l M e r c u r y I n s . Co. v. Chilton-Shelby Mental Health Ctr., 595 So. 2d [1375,] 1377 [(Ala. 1982)])." P o r t e r f i e l d v. Audubon Indem. Co., 2002). See a l s o J o h n s o n , 505 So. 856 So. 2d a t A l a b a m a law r e q u i r e s n o t o n l y t h a t we for-a-fee exclusion narrowly as 789, 806 (Ala. 365. c o n s t r u e the possible to carry- provide the maximum c o v e r a g e f o r t h e i n s u r e d , b u t a l s o t h a t we e n f o r c e the e x c l u s i o n as w r i t t e n . as 2d Furthermore, t h i s Court h e l d i n Hearn, P e r r y , and J o h n s o n t h a t t h e e n f o r c e a b i l i t y o f t h e c a r r y - f o r - a - 22 1101332 f e e e x c l u s i o n i s b a s e d on the time of the requirements, as the we insured newspapers, but the accident. conclude is of the covered v e h i c l e at In accordance w i t h the foregoing t h a t t h e e x c l u s i o n a p p l i e s so using that use the after covered vehicle delivery is to long deliver complete and the c o v e r e d v e h i c l e i s no l o n g e r b e i n g u s e d f o r d e l i v e r y p u r p o s e s , t h e e x c l u s i o n does n o t a p p l y . In o t h e r words, the carry-for- a - f e e e x c l u s i o n w o u l d a p p l y b e g i n n i n g w i t h t h e p o i n t when t h e newspapers are after last the loaded into the newspaper is a p p l i c a t i o n of t h i s Court's v e h i c l e and delivered. would not Based apply upon our c a s e l a w on t h e c o n s t r u c t i o n o f e x c l u s i o n a r y c l a u s e i n an i n s u r a n c e p o l i c y , we conclude an that t h e answer t o t h e s e c o n d c e r t i f i e d q u e s t i o n i s no: A c l a u s e i n an automobile liability-insurance policy excluding coverage f o r t h e "use o f any m o t o r v e h i c l e t o c a r r y p e r s o n s o r p r o p e r t y for a fee" cannot be enforced as to an insured after the d e l i v e r y of the " p r o p e r t y , " i . e . , newspapers i n t h i s case, i s complete. IV. We answer affirmative; we the Conclusion first answer the certified question second c e r t i f i e d negative. 23 question in in the the 1101332 QUESTIONS ANSWERED. Malone, JJ., C . J . , and W o o d a l l , Stuart, Bolin, concur. Murdock, Shaw, a n d W i s e , J J . , d i s s e n t 24 and P a r k e r , 1101332 MURDOCK, J u s t i c e ( d i s s e n t i n g ) . With respect Constitution, 4 creates issuance that to the general Court may answer o f law of t h i s federal App. P., p r o h i b i t i o n against the 18, A l a . R. court and as State." R u l e 18 determinative provides "questions or State" which are c e r t i f i e d to i t to which c o n t r o l l i n g precedents i n the d e c i s i o n s of t h i s l a w , " the Alabama by t h i s C o u r t o f a d v i s o r y o p i n i o n s . this a of state as i m p l e m e n t e d b y R u l e an e x c e p t i o n propositions by to "questions I do n o t b e l i e v e "there are no clear o f t h e Supreme C o u r t either question the Court a n s w e r s t o d a y i s w i t h i n t h e c o n t e m p l a t i o n o f R u l e 18. In answering the f i r s t q u e s t i o n opinion acknowledges a p p l i c a b l e c e r t i f i e d t o us, t h e main p r i n c i p l e s "of law of this State" p e r t a i n i n g to contract i n t e r p r e t a t i o n that are already well established i n "clear c o n t r o l l i n g precedents." opinion the to simply The m a i n applies these e s t a b l i s h e d l e g a l p r i n c i p l e s to f a c t s of t h i s case, i . e . , the c o n t r a c t language a t i s s u e , determine that that language i s unambiguous. The main o p i n i o n t h e n a p p l i e s t h i s unambiguous c o n t r a c t l a n g u a g e t o t h e S e e A l a . C o n s t . 1901, ยง 1 4 0 ( b ) ( " T h e supreme c o u r t s h a l l have o r i g i n a l j u r i s d i c t i o n ... (3) t o a n s w e r q u e s t i o n s of s t a t e l a w c e r t i f i e d by a c o u r t of the United States." (emphasis a d d e d ) ) . 4 25 1101332 even more particular fact o f the type of property being d e l i v e r e d i n t h i s p a r t i c u l a r c a s e -- n e w s p a p e r s . I believe that (and i t a p p e a r s t h a t t h e m a i n o p i n i o n the p o l i c y l a n g u a g e does answer t o t h e s e c o n d q u e s t i o n . not provide an agrees) unambiguous The m a i n o p i n i o n c o n s t r u e s t h e l a n g u a g e a t i s s u e t o mean t h a t t h e p o l i c y e x c l u s i o n ends t h e moment t h e l a s t newspaper i s thrown from t h e c a r . f u r t h e r , h o w e v e r , and a n s w e r s a q u e s t i o n I t goes n o t c e r t i f i e d by t h e f e d e r a l c o u r t , n a m e l y , when t h e e x c l u s i o n b e g i n s t o a p p l y . to this latter issue, the main opinion holds that As the e x c l u s i o n a p p l i e s o n l y a f t e r t h e f i r s t newspaper i s l o a d e d i n the c a r , m e a n i n g t h a t t h e e x c l u s i o n does n o t a p p l y c a r i s en r o u t e I w o u l d be question, while the s o l e l y t o p i c k up n e w s p a p e r s f r o m t h e v e n d o r . inclined t o a d i f f e r e n t answer to this second n a m e l y , t h a t t h e "use o f [a] m o t o r v e h i c l e t o c a r r y persons or property f o r a fee" includes the dedicated use o f t h e v e h i c l e w h i l e on t h e way t o p i c k up t h e p e r s o n o r p r o p e r t y and on t h e way b a c k f r o m d e l i v e r i n g t h e p e r s o n o r property, a s s u m i n g o f c o u r s e no d e t o u r f o r p e r s o n a l reasons. or other 5 W o u l d a t a x i o r l i m o u s i n e d r i v e r be deemed n o t t o be engaged i n t h e use o f h i s c a r t o c a r r y p e r s o n s o r p r o p e r t y f o r a f e e i f he h a s an a c c i d e n t w h i l e on t h e way t o p i c k up a p a s s e n g e r o r t o r e t u r n t o t h e company g a r a g e a f t e r d e l i v e r i n g 5 26 1101332 The p r o s p e c t in one way, interpret question than while other members of this i t i n a d i f f e r e n t way, does Court n o t mean choose to the second i s any more amenable t o c e r t i f i e d - q u e s t i o n t r e a t m e n t the f i r s t judges might differently are doing, to t h a t I would i n t e r p r e t the c o n t r a c t language question, i n t e r p r e t or apply The t h e same does n o t change t h e f a c t t h a t fact that contract that any two language i s what they i n t e r p r e t i n g c o n t r a c t language and t h e n a p p l y i n g i t the f a c t s before questions however. of State opinion itself second question: them; t h e y law. I note i n t h i s states at the outset "Alabama c o v e r a g e i n an i n s u r a n c e ; see a l s o are not deciding law r e g a r d what t h e m a i n of i t s discussion of the concerning exclusions policy i swell settled." So. 3d a t unresolved from So. 3d a t (Shaw, J . , d i s s e n t i n g ) ( t o same effect). B a s e d on t h e f o r e g o i n g , either opinion the f i r s t states or second that I r e s p e c t f u l l y d e c l i n e t o answer question "[w]hether a presented. specific e x c l u s i o n c a n be a p p l i e d t o a s p e c i f i c i n s u r e d driven determination," the So. 3d a t l a s t p a s s e n g e r o f t h e day? 27 The main carry-for-a-fee ... i s a f a c t - , w h i c h we s h o u l d n o t be 1101332 making. this B e c a u s e I b e l i e v e we a r e m a k i n g t h a t d e t e r m i n a t i o n case, I r e s p e c t f u l l y d i s s e n t . 28 in 1101332 SHAW, J u s t i c e I agree express no (dissenting). with opinion Justice as to p o l i c y language at i s s u e has recently Murdock's the proper i n t h i s case. writing, although interpretation of I the I note that t h i s Court stated: " R u l e 18, A l a . R. App. P., p r o v i d e s t h a t t h i s C o u r t may a n s w e r q u e s t i o n s f r o m f e d e r a l c o u r t s o n l y where ' t h e r e a r e no c l e a r c o n t r o l l i n g p r e c e d e n t s ' and t h e answer t o t h e q u e s t i o n i s ' d e t e r m i n a t i v e o f s a i d cause.' C o n s t r u i n g an i n s u r a n c e p o l i c y t r e a d s no new g r o u n d u n d e r A l a b a m a law, and precedent d e t e r m i n a t i v e o f s u c h an a n a l y s i s i s w e l l s e t t l e d . P u b l i c B l d g . A u t h . o f H u n t s v i l l e v. S t . P a u l F i r e & St Paul 180 (Ala. 2010) M a r i n e I n s . Co., 80 So. 3d 171, (Ala. does not ('[T]he i n t e r p r e t a t i o n of a contract p r e s e n t a n o v e l l e g a l i s s u e . R a t h e r , the r u l e s of contract construction and i n t e r p r e t a t i o n a r e well e s t a b l i s h e d i n Alabama ')." S t e w a r t T i t l e G u a r . Co. 3d 469, v. First 472 v. S h e l b y R e a l t y H o l d i n g s , LLC, (Ala. 2011). See C o m m e r c i a l Bank, (declining A l a b a m a law to answer a 61 also So. certified 83 So. Heatherwood H o l d i n g s , LLC 3d question i s s u f f i c i e n t to g u i d e the Wise, J . , concurs. 29 1012, 1026 (Ala. where 2010) "existing [certifying court]").