BATON ROUGE – Louisiana's First Circuit Court of Appeal recently reversed a decision by the 22nd Judicial District Court in a lawsuit regarding an uninsured motorist insurance claim filed by the family of a man who died from injuries after being struck by a vehicle while crossing a street.
In its Nov. 30 judgment, the appeals court granted Federated Rural Electric Insurance Exchange's appeal of the lower court decision that said "uninsured motorist coverage of the all risk blanket policy issued by Federated provides uninsured motorist coverage to the plaintiffs."
According to court filings, the family of Lawrence Jourdan filed suit in December 2016 after Jourdan sustained serious injuries on March 8, 2016, in a pedestrian versus vehicle accident. Jourdan, who was the pedestrian in the incident, later died.
Jourdan, a member of the board of directors of Washington St. Tammany Electric Cooperative, met for dinner at a cafe after a co-op meeting, court filings said. According to the filing, Jourdan had ridden to cafe with another board member. "While walking across the street from the parking lot to the cafe, Jourdan was struck by a vehicle driven by Karen Spears. Jourdan sustained serious injuries as a result of the accident, and he later died as a result of his injuries," court filings said.
The family filed suit with Spears' insurer, Allmerica Financial Benefit Insurance Company and Federated, the insurer of the co-op. In their suit, Jourdan's family "asserted that the all risk policy included uninsured/underinsured motorist (UM) benefits, which provide coverage to Jourdan and the plaintiffs because Jourdan was in the course and scope of his duties and responsibilities as a member of the board of directors of the co-op at the time of the accident."
However, the appeals court found that based on language in the policy, "in order to be an insured under the UM portion of the all risk policy, Jourdan had to be occupying an auto. It is undisputed that at the time of the accident at issue, Jourdan was not occupying an auto. Therefore, according to the plain language of the UM endorsement, Jourdan is not entitled to contractural UM coverage under the UM endorsement of the Federated policy."
A trial court had ruled that Jourdan's family was entitled to UM coverage under the policy issued to the co-op by Federated.
The appeals court reversed that ruling and remanded the case to the district court.