Mixed Ruling in Suit Against State Farm and Agent Failing to Increase Coverage Over Time

TEVEN BARRICK and JANICE BARRICK v. STATE FARM MUTUAL AUTOMOBILE INSURANCE COMPANY and THOMAS HARRY JONES
Court: TN Court of Appeals

Attorneys:

William D. Leader, Jr., and Paul J. Krog, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellants, Steven and Janice Barrick.

Brigid M. Carpenter, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellees, State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Company and Thomas Harry Jones.

Judge: ASH

This appeal arises from a trial court’s judgment granting State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Company (“State Farm”) and Agent Thomas Harry Jones’ motion for summary judgment and dismissing the Barricks’ action for negligence and violation of the Tennessee Consumer Protection Act. The Barricks held automobile insurance coverage through State Farm, with Thomas Jones as their agent, from 1985 until 2009, and their coverage limits remained the same throughout this period. The Barricks sued, claiming State Farm and Jones had a duty of care to advise the Barricks of their need for increased coverage. The Barricks now appeal, arguing the trial court erred in dismissing their claims. We affirm the trial court’s decision to grant summary judgment regarding the negligence claim. We reverse the trial court’s judgment based on the assumption of duty, which the trial court did not directly address, and the Tennessee Consumer Protection Act claims, since State Farm and Mr. Jones cannot meet their burden under Hannan v. Alltel Publ'g Co., 270 S.W.3d 1, 5 (Tenn. 2008), in these claims. We also reverse the trial court’s summary judgment in favor of State Farm for vicarious liability and failure to supervise in regard to the alleged assumption of duty by the agent.

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