Scottsdale Indemnity v. National Continental Insurance Co.Annotate this Case
Manuel Lainez had been independently driving commercial vehicles for eight and a half years. He owned his own truck and his own business, Lainez Trucking. He purchased a trucker’s liability policy from Scottsdale Indemnity Company with a $1 million liability limit. Lainez entered into a motor carrier agreement with Western Transportation Services. Western did not own tractors or trailers, but contracted with owner/operators or drivers. The agreement provided that Lainez was an independent contractor and was responsible for all costs and expenses incidental to the performance of transportation services. He agreed to maintain liability insurance and to name Western Transport as an additional insured. Western Transport, through the California Automobile Assigned Risk Plan (CAARP), purchased a commercial assigned risk policy from National Continental Insurance Company (NCI), which stated "'Named Insured’s Business: 1 Trucker for Hire-Excess'" and named Lainez as a driver. It did not list, describe, or rate any vehicle. It was rated on an excess cost of hire basis at a premium that was 4 to 10 percent of the cost of a policy rated on a primary cost of hire basis. The issue this case presented for the Court of Appeal's review was whether the two insurance companies were coprimary insurers or whether NCI was an excess insurer for an underlying fatality involving Lainez. The trial court granted NCI’s motion for a summary judgment, concluding that Scottsdale was the primary insurer pursuant to California Insurance Code section 11580.9, subdivisions (d) and (h). The Court of Appeal agreed that Scottsdale was the primary insurer and NCI was the excess insurer and affirmed the judgment.