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Alexander v. Aig Agency Auto, Inc.

Court of Appeals of Mississippi

December 10, 2013

MICHAEL HUGH ALEXANDER, APPELLANT
v.
AIG AGENCY AUTO, INC., 21ST CENTURY INSURANCE COMPANY AS SUCCESSOR IN INTEREST TO AIG, AND GRANITE STATE INSURANCE COMPANY, INC., APPELLEES

COURT FROM WHICH APPEALED: LEE COUNTY CIRCUIT COURT. DATE OF JUDGMENT: 06/25/2012. TRIAL JUDGE: HON. JAMES LAMAR ROBERTS JR. TRIAL COURT MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT GRANTED IN FAVOR OF APPELLEES.

FOR APPELLANT: BOBBY T. VANCE, JOHN L. BAILEY.

FOR APPELLEES: THOMAS LYNN CARPENTER JR., J. WYATT HAZARD.

BEFORE GRIFFIS, P.J., BARNES AND JAMES, JJ. LEE, C.J., GRIFFIS, P.J., ISHEE, ROBERTS, CARLTON AND FAIR, JJ., CONCUR. JAMES, J., CONCURS IN PART AND IN THE RESULT WITHOUT SEPARATE WRITTEN OPINION. IRVING, P.J., DISSENTS WITHOUT SEPARATE WRITTEN OPINION. MAXWELL, J., NOT PARTICIPATING.

OPINION

Page 191

NATURE OF THE CASE: CIVIL - INSURANCE

BARNES, J.

¶1. Michael Hugh Alexander purchased an automobile insurance policy through a local insurance agent, Fred Watson, for his 2003 Chevrolet Malibu on August 29, 2007. The insurance coverage was provided through Granite State Insurance Company (Granite State), but it was essentially a policy through AIG Agency Auto Inc. (AIG). [1] The policy was a six-month policy

Page 192

that Alexander renewed in February 2008, making the policy's renewal date August 28, 2008. However, the insurance company (specifically, AIG) mailed Alexander a notice dated July 17, 2008, informing him that as of August 28, 2008, his policy would not be renewed since the company no longer serviced full-coverage policies for single vehicles. [2]

¶2. On September 23, 2008, Alexander was involved in a vehicular accident with a semi-trailer truck. Alexander submitted his claim, but AIG denied all coverage, as the policy was no longer in effect. Alexander, however, claims he never received any notice of non-renewal until after his accident. Alexander does admit he received notice of non-renewal after the accident - the first notice was postmarked September 24, 2008; the second notice was postmarked October 1, 2008.

¶3. On February 26, 2010, Alexander filed a complaint against AIG and other defendants, [3] alleging negligence, breach of contract and fiduciary duty, and fraud in the inducement bye the defendants. On May 7, 2010, AIG, 21st Century, and Granite State filed an answer, denying Alexander's claims. Watson and Career General also filed separate answers to the complaint.

¶4. AIG, 21st Century, and Granite State filed a joint motion for summary judgment on March 24, 2011, and Watson and Career General filed a joint motion for summary judgment on April 11, 2011. The circuit court granted the defendants' motions for summary judgment on June 25, 2012, finding that AIG had provided valid proof of a certificate of mailing of the notice and that Alexander failed to rebut this evidence by demonstrating he had not received timely notice of the non-renewal.

¶5. Alexander appeals the circuit court's grant of summary judgment, claiming that a genuine issue of material fact existed as to whether he received proper notice of the non-renewal and as to whether the agent's representations to Alexander were negligent. He also argues that AIG was required to issue an amendatory endorsement under the policy. Finding no genuine issue of material fact exists, we affirm the circuit court's grant of summary judgment.

STANDARD OF REVIEW

¶6. A circuit court's grant of summary judgment is reviewed de novo. Stribling v. Rushing's Inc., 115 So.3d 103, 104 (¶ 5) (Miss. Ct. App. 2013) (citing Byrne v. Wal-Mart Stores Inc., 877 So.2d 462, 464 (¶ 3) (Miss. Ct. App. 2003)). Viewing the evidence in the light most favorable to the nonmovant, summary judgment is appropriate when " the pleadings, depositions, answers to interrogatories and admissions on file, together with the affidavits, if any, show that there is no genuine issue as to any material fact and that the moving party is entitled to a judgment as a matter of law." Id. (citation omitted) (quoting M.R.C.P. 56(c)).

When a motion for summary judgment is made and supported ...

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