LAFAYETTE – An insurance company is seeking the court's help in resolving coverage for an estate over an underlying suit regarding a fatal accident.
Republic Fire and Casualty Insurance Co. filed a suit on Feb. 4 in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Louisiana against the estate of Larry W. Jeane Sr., et al, claiming that it cannot provide coverage for a fatal accident because Jeane Sr. was operating a business vehicle at the time.
The complaint allegedly arose from a lawsuit filed in the 9th Judicial Court of Louisiana in the Parish of Rapides, Case number 251753, against the estate of Larry Jeane Sr. That case allegedly involved an accident in which Jeane Sr., a permitted operator of a pickup truck owned by the city of Pineville, was traveling southbound on state Highway 107 in Pineville when he crossed the center line and struck a vehicle. Jeane Sr. sustained fatal injuries and the occupants of the vehicle he struck allegedly sustained several severe bodily injuries.
The victims of said accident have filed a suit against the estate of Larry Jeane Sr. for damages in excess of $1 million, and while Republic has not been named as a defendant in that underlying suit, it has been requested by the estate to provide coverage. Republic claims that, under the policy bought by Jeane Sr., it excludes liability coverage if the insured is operating a vehicle while employed or if the vehicle or otherwise engaged in any business, or if the insured is utilizing a vehicle that is not covered in the policy.
Republic is asking the court to declare that it does not have any duty to provide coverage to the estate of Larry Jeane Sr. for the underlying lawsuit against it due to the stated reasons, or alternatively, prays that the court reduce the coverage under the policies to the mandatory minimum limits of $15,000 per person/$30,000 per accident, and any other rewards deemed just by the court. It is represented by Douglas K. Williams and Christopher A. Mason from Breazeale, Sachse & Wilson LLP in Baton Rouge.
U.S. District Court for the Western District of Louisiana Case number 1:16-cv-00171-DDD-JPM