Universal Underwriters Ins Co. v. Winton, No. 15-6051 (10th Cir. 2016)Annotate this Case
In the early morning of November 11, 2007, Sofia Roberts caused a motor-vehicle accident that killed five people (including herself) and severely injured two others. She was driving a Chrysler 300 that she had obtained from the Marc Heitz Auto Valley automobile dealership (Heitz) a few days earlier. The Chrysler had been delivered to Heitz by Bob Moore Auto Group (Moore) earlier that day. Her estate was sued by the estates of Brant Winton and Rebecca Burgess (two of the others killed in the accident) and two survivors, Daniel Cosar and Marcus Moore (collectively, the Victims). The suits were settled for $3,000,000 each for the survivors and the Winton estate and $5,000,000 for the Burgess estate. Allstate Insurance Company (Allstate), the insurer on Roberts’s personal automobile-liability policy, contributed its policy limit of $50,000. The judgment limited execution to other applicable insurance policies. Three insurance carriers (for the Heitz or Moore dealerships), Universal Underwriters Insurance Company (Universal), Phoenix Insurance Company (Phoenix), and National Union Fire Insurance Company of Pittsburgh, PA (National) (collectively, the Insurers), then sued the Victims at a federal district court in Oklahoma under diversity jurisdiction, seeking declaratory judgments that their policies did not cover Roberts for the accident. The district court granted summary judgment to the Insurers. The Victims appealed, arguing Heitz still owned the Chrysler at the time of the accident and that Universal is therefore responsible under the “garage” and “umbrella” coverages of its policy for Heitz. Alternatively, the Victims argued that Moore owned the vehicle at the time of the accident and that Phoenix and National were liable under their policies for Moore. After review, the Tenth Circuit found no reversible error and affirmed the district court’s judgments.