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Hirst Applegate attorneys won an appeal to the Wyoming Supreme Court, obtaining a decision upholding the district court’s grant of summary judgment in favor of Hirst Applegate’s client, an insurer. Plaintiff was injured in a motorcycle accident caused by an underinsured third party driver. Plaintiff settled for the third party’s insurance policy limits. Plaintiff then made a claim under the uninsured motorist provision of his insurance policy. Plaintiff filed suit against the insurer claiming, among other things, that the insurer was bound by Plaintiff’s insurance agent’s alleged representation that the policy would provide underinsured motorist coverage.

Hirst Applegate attorneys filed a motion for summary judgment on all claims. They argued that Wyoming’s uninsured motorist statutes unambiguously do not require underinsured motorist coverage; that the policy unambiguously did not include underinsured motorist coverage; that the agent did not have actual or apparent authority to change the terms of the policy, in light of policy language preventing him from doing so; and that the Plaintiff’s failure to read the policy defeated his claims. The district court granted summary judgment in favor of Hirst Applegate’s client, and Plaintiff appealed. The Wyoming Supreme Court affirmed. The Court found that the agent did not have actual or apparent authority to change the policy terms, in light of a policy provision preventing oral modifications. It also held that Plaintiff’s failure to read the policy was a defense to Plaintiff’s negligence and contract claims and barred the application of the doctrines of promissory estoppel and reasonable expectations.

POSTED BY DAVID D JOHANSEN AT 9:23 AM