Proactive Liability Insurer Jumps the Gun, per Middle Section

NORTHLAND INSURANCE COMPANY v. MICHAEL BURTON AND DONALD BURTON d/b/a BURTON BROTHERS TRUCKING
Court: TN Court of Appeals

Attorneys:

B. Timothy Pirtle, McMinnville, Tennessee, for the appellants, Michael Burton and Donald Burton d/b/a Burton Brothers Trucking.

Samuel A. Baron, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellee, Northland Insurance Company.

Judge: COTTRELL

Insurance Company provided Trucking Company with a general liability insurance policy that included the MCS-90 endorsement required by the Motor Carrier Act of 1980. A woman who was a passenger in the insured’s tractor made a claim against Insurance Company for injuries she sustained after the tractor turned over. Insurance Company paid the woman’s claim even though she had not filed a complaint or obtained a judgment against Trucking Company/Insured. Insurance Company then filed a complaint against Trucking Company seeking reimbursement for the amount it paid out. Trial court awarded Insurance Company reimbursement. We reverse because no judgment had been obtained against Trucking Company when Insurance Company paid the woman’s claim. The MCS-90 endorsement is not triggered unless an injured member of the public recovers a final judgment against a motor carrier/insured. Therefore, Insurance Company had no right of reimbursement.

.PDF Version of Case

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