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SOUTHERN FARM BEREAU CASUALTY INSURANCE CO. v. JESSIE M. BREWER

MAY 13, 1987

SOUTHERN FARM BEREAU CASUALTY INSURANCE CO.
v.
JESSIE M. BREWER



BEFORE HAWKINS, P.J., PRATHER AND GRIFFIN, JJ.

PRATHER, JUSTICE, FOR THE COURT:

This case questions whether an insured is entitled to recover for injury under uninsured motorist coverage when a passing unknown vehicle propels an object through the windshield of the car occupied by the insured.

The Circuit Court of Pearl River County granted summary judgment to Jessie M. (Blackwell) Brewer, plaintiff, finding that Brewer was entitled to $10,000 uninsured motorist coverage, from Southern Farm Bureau Casualty Insurance Company, defendant, and that the contact which occurred between the insured vehicle and the uninsured motorist constituted "physical contact" as contemplated by the statute and the insurance policy. This Court affirms.

 I.

 The stipulated facts are that an insurance policy, issued by Southern Farm Bureau to Brewer's husband, Stephen A. Blackwell, provided $10,000 per person for uninsured motorist coverage. On August 25, 1982, Jessie M. Brewer was riding as a named insured passenger in an automobile covered under the policy. A pickup truck operated by an individual whose identity could not be ascertained pulled along side of the automobile in which Brewer was riding. The truck suddenly, without warning, cut in front of Blackwell's car.

 In doing so the truck struck an object later identified as a brake drum lying in the lane of traffic and propelled it into Blackwell's car. The brake drum broke the windshield of the automobile in which Brewer was riding and struck Brewer in the face. The negligence of the operator of the hit-and-run automobile was stipulated as being the sole and only proximate cause of the accident.

 II.

 When faced with a motion for summary judgment under MRCP 56, the trial court must review carefully all of the evidentiary matters before it - admissions in pleadings, answers to interrogatories, depositions, affidavits, etc. The evidence must be viewed in the light most favorable to the party against whom the motion has been made. If in this view, the moving party is entitled to judgment as a matter of law, summary judgment should forthwith be entered in his favor. Otherwise, the motion should be denied. Brown v. Credit Center Inc., 444 So. 2d 358, 362 (Miss. 1983). See also Vickers v. First Mississippi National Bank, 458 So. 2d 1055, 1060 (Miss. 1984); Dennis v. Searle, 457 So. 2d 941 (Miss. 1984).

 The only issue the lower court had to consider was whether or not the "physical contact" requirement, which was contained in the subject policy, and is also required in 83-11-103 (C) (b) of the Miss. Code, was sufficiently met.

 The uninsured motorist provision covering the automobile at the time of the accident stated as follows:

 The term "uninsured motor vehicle" means:

 ( 3) A hit and run vehicle as defined under II(d);

 II(d): The term "hit-and-run automobile" means an automobile which causes bodily injury and/or property damage to an insured arising out of physical contact of such automobile with the insured or with an automobile which the insured is occupying at the time of the ...


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