Florida Supreme Court sides with auto insurance company

Aug 25, 2011

The following article was published in The Florida Current on August 25, 2011:

Supreme Court sides with auto insurance company

By Christine Jordan Sexton

The Florida Supreme Court on Thursday sided with a major insurance company and ruled that the insurer does not have to cover the parents of a driver who collided with another car.

Both the Miami-Dade circuit court and the 3rd District Court of Appeal found that a provision in an auto insurance policy issued by State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Company was ambigious and could not be enforced. The appeals court said anytime a provision is ambigious it must be construed in favor of the insured.

The policyholder, Gilda Menendez, let her granddaughter drive her car. Fabiola P. Llanes wound up colliding with another car and she was hurt along with her grandmother and her two parents. The two parents – Fabiola G. and Roger Llanes – wound up suing Melendez for their injuries who then sought coverage from State Farm.

State Farm asserted that due to a household exclusion in the policy it was not required to provide bodily injury coverage for the two parents. The Llanes had contended the exclusion did not apply because they did not reside with Menendez.

But in the unanimous opinion written by Chief Justice Charles Canady the court said that the policy limits were clear and that it was in the policy in “plain language.”

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