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GENERAL LEE McCOY, ON BEHALF OF DAVID J. McCOY, A MINOR v. PREFERRED RISK INSURANCE COMPANY AND SINGING RIVER HOSPITAL SYSTEM

JUNE 05, 1985

GENERAL LEE McCOY, ON BEHALF OF DAVID J. McCOY, A MINOR
v.
PREFERRED RISK INSURANCE COMPANY AND SINGING RIVER HOSPITAL SYSTEM



BEFORE ROY NOBLE LEE, HAWKINS AND SULLIVAN

HAWKINS, JUSTICE, FOR THE COURT:

General Lee McCoy, legal guardian of his minor son David James McCoy, appeals from a judgment of the Chancery Court of Jackson County awarding interpleaded insurance proceeds to Singing River Hospital System (Singing River), a Jackson County hospital. These funds were interpleaded by Preferred Risk Insurance Company.

The issue we address on this appeal is the authority of McCoy and his wife as individuals to assign over unto Singing River the uninsured motorist benefits under two liability insurance policies held in the name of McCoy for injuries received by their son David.

 Finding the McCoys had no such authority, we reverse as to such assignment of the uninsured motorist benefits. This decision does not affect the right of Singing River to receive all medical benefits for services rendered, as provided in the two policies.

 FACTS

 Preferred Risk Insurance Company (Preferred) on October 31, 1981, had in effect two liability insurance policies with its named insured General Lee McCoy. McCoy's minor son, David James McCoy, was critically injured that date in an automobile accident with an uninsured motorist.

 Each of these policies provided for $2,000 maximum medical pay caused by a motor vehicle accident, and $10,000 maximum insured motorist liability.

 David was hospitalized in the Singing River Hospital in Jackson County, and on November 3, 1981, his parents executed an assignment of all benefits due them by Preferred, acknowledging that on November 3 there was due Singing River the sum of $47,271.02.

 On November 30 McCoy was appointed legal guardian of his son by decree of the Chancery Court of Jackson County.

 Preferred recognized its liability under its policies to pay $4,000 in medical benefits, plus $20,000 in uninsured motorist benefits, and following a dispute as to the lawful recipient, filed a complaint for interpleader on January 7, 1982, making McCoy, David and Singing River parties defendant.

 Singing River answered, alleging propriety and necessity of the medical and hospital services rendered David, and attaching an itemized account plus a copy of the assignment.

 McCoy answered February 25, 1982, affirmatively alleging inter alia he had no authority individually to assign the benefits due under the policies, that he was later appointed legal guardian, and that the insurance proceeds should be paid to him as legal guardian.

 The chancellor ruled that under the insurance policies

 the son had no interest in the proceeds and the father, as the named insured, had a right to assign the proceeds. A decree was accordingly entered directing release of the funds ...


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