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Infinity Insurance Co. v. Patel

October 13, 1998

INFINITY INSURANCE COMPANY APPELLANT
v.
RASHMIKANT PATEL APPELLEE



Before Thomas, P.j., King, And Southwick, JJ.

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Southwick, J.

DATE OF JUDGMENT: 04/21/97

TRIAL JUDGE: HON. LARRY EUGENE ROBERTS

COURT FROM WHICH APPEALED: LAUDERDALE COUNTY CIRCUIT COURT

NATURE OF THE CASE: CIVIL - INSURANCE

TRIAL COURT DISPOSITION: GRANTED SUMMARY JUDGMENT IN FAVOR OF RASHMIKANT PATEL AND DENIED INFINITY INSURANCE COMPANY'S MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT

DISPOSITION: REVERSE AND REMANDED - 10/13/98

MOTION FOR REHEARING FILED:

CERTIORARI FILED:

MANDATE ISSUED:

¶1. An insurance company sought a declaratory judgment that coverage was never in effect since the check for the initial payment on a policy was dishonored by the applicant's bank. The trial court focused on language in the insurance application that voided coverage when a check was returned for non-sufficient funds. The court found that this wording did not apply unambiguously to the present situation in which the check was returned because the account had been closed. Accordingly, insurance was in effect. Since we find that there were still disputes of material fact and that summary judgment was improper, we reverse and remand.

FACTS

¶2. The underlying facts are uncontested. On February 21, 1995, Rashmikant Patel applied for insurance with Infinity Insurance Company to be effective beginning February 26, 1995. The initial premium was paid by Patel's check dated February 21, 1995. The check was not honored upon presentation to the Citizens National Bank on March 3 since the account on which it had been drawn was closed by Patel that same day. At approximately 2:20 p.m., also on March 3, Patel's wife was involved in an automobile accident. Patel filed a claim with his insurance agent on March 9. Infinity sent Mr. Patel a notice of recission on March 17 and refused his claim.

ΒΆ3. Infinity filed for declaratory relief on October 20, 1995. It sought a determination that there was no coverage because Patel's check was dishonored. The relevant provision in the insurance application states "that if my down payment or full payment check is returned by the bank because of non-sufficient funds, coverage will be null and void from inception." Cross motions for ...


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