Midwestern Indem. Co. v. Brooks, No. 14-2016 (8th Cir. 2015)Annotate this Case
Brooks was riding her bicycle when Lawrence negligently struck her with his car. Lawrence later died of unrelated causes. Brooks sued Lawrence’s estate, which settled for the $50,000 limit of Lawrence’s auto insurance policy. Brooks agreed not to seek additional recovery from Lawrence’s estate, heirs, or insurer, but retained the right to seek recovery from the Brookses’ auto insurance policy (Midwestern), which provides underinsured motorist (UIM) bodily injury coverage. On the declarations page for the UIM endorsement, the policy states, “Insurance is provided where a premium entry is shown for the coverage.” This page lists “Underinsured Motorist Bodily Injury” with liability limits of $100,000 per-person and $300,000 per-accident. A premium amount appears for each of five vehicles, indicating the Brookses pay a premium for UIM coverage for each vehicle. Midwestern paid $100,000, declaring this per-person limit the maximum amount for a single application of the policy’s UIM coverage, then sought declaratory judgment that its UIM coverage limits for multiple vehicles do not stack to multiply the per-person limit. Granting Midwestern summary judgment, the district court determined the plain language of the policy makes it “quite clear” intra-policy stacking is prohibited and the per-person limit for one accident is $100,000. The Eighth Circuit affirmed.