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Continental Casualty Company v. Allstate Property and Casualty Insurance Co.

Supreme Court of Mississippi, En Banc

August 24, 2017

CONTINENTAL CASUALTY COMPANY
v.
ALLSTATE PROPERTY AND CASUALTY INSURANCE COMPANY

          DATE OF JUDGMENT: 02/22/2016

         CIRCUIT COURT OF THE FIRST JUDICIAL DISTRICT OF HARRISON COUNTY HON. CHRISTOPHER LOUIS SCHMIDT TRIAL JUDGE

          TRIAL COURT ATTORNEYS: JOHN A. BANAHAN MICHAEL RILEY MOORE ROBERT ELLIOTT BRIGGS, III.

          ATTORNEYS FOR APPELLANT: MICHAEL RILEY MOORE JOHN A. BANAHAN.

          ATTORNEY FOR APPELLEE: ROBERT ELLIOTT BRIGGS, III.

          KITCHENS, JUSTICE

         ¶1. As Greg Peters and Mike Williams were attempting to position Peters's fishing boat on its trailer, the winch handle recoiled, struck, and seriously injured Williams. Peters, who owned the truck, the trailer, and the boat, had two liability insurance policies covering bodily injury: his truck and trailer were insured by Allstate Property and Casualty Insurance Company (Allstate) and his boat was insured by Continental Casualty Company (Continental). Ultimately, the insurers settled with Williams for $460, 000, each paying $230, 000 toward the total settlement. Prior to settlement, however, the insurers had not agreed on apportionment. Continental sought a declaratory judgment in the Circuit Court of the First Judicial District of Harrison County, in which it claimed indemnity from Allstate based on its apportionment theory and also reimbursement for the defense costs it had incurred investigating the claim. Allstate responded with a motion to dismiss, in which it sought indemnity from Allstate based on its own apportionment theory and also sanctions against Continental for having made its defense costs and expenses claim. The circuit court treated the motion to dismiss as a motion for partial summary judgment and granted summary judgment in Allstate's favor, but declined to award sanctions to Allstate. Allstate then filed a motion for summary judgment on Continental's remaining indemnity claim, which the circuit court granted. Continental now appeals the grant of summary judgment on its indemnity claim. Allstate cross-appeals the denial of sanctions. As to Continental's indemnity claim, we reverse the grant of summary judgment to Allstate and render judgment in favor of Continental. As to Continental's claim of entitlement to defense costs, we affirm the grant of summary judgment for Allstate. Finally, we affirm the denial of sanctions to Allstate.

         FACTS AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY

         ¶2. Greg Peters and his family took Peters's twenty-six-foot, 2003 Regulator fishing boat to Ship Island, Mississippi, for a beach day and picnic lunch on June 22, 2013, accompanied by their friend Mike Williams and Williams's son. The group returned to the boat launch in Gulfport, Mississippi, and Peters tied off the boat so the others could disembark. Williams then backed Peters's 2012 Chevrolet Silverado truck and the attached trailer down a public launch ramp and into the water so Peters could maneuver the boat onto the trailer. Peters drove the vessel onto the trailer and Williams, on land, hooked the trailer's winch strap, which runs around rollers to position the vessel's bow on the trailer, to the bow. Williams began tightening the winch to draw the vessel onto the trailer, but the bow was off-center. Williams told Peters that he needed to back up the boat so that the bow could be centered on the trailer; but when Peters did, the winch recoiled and the handle struck Williams's left eye, causing serious bodily injuries to Williams.

         ¶3. At the time of the accident, Peters's 2012 Chevrolet Silverado truck and trailer were covered by a liability insurance policy from Allstate. The Allstate policy, effective from April 14, 2013, to October 14, 2013, covered liability for bodily injury up to $250, 000. Peters also had obtained a liability insurance policy from Continental for his 2003 Regulator fishing boat, which was effective from April 13, 2013, to April 13, 2014, and covered liability for bodily injury up to $300, 000.

         ¶4. The respective insurance policies contained "other insurance" clauses. The Allstate policy's "other insurance" clause stated the following: "[i]f more than one policy applies on a primary basis to an accident involving your insured auto, we will bear our proportionate share with other collectible liability insurance." (Emphasis in original.) The Continental policy's "other insurance" clause stated that "[i]f there is any other available insurance that would apply in the absence of this policy, this insurance shall apply as excess over the other insurance . . . ."

         ¶5. Peters reported the incident to Continental on August 26, 2013, and Continental assigned Stuart Platt to investigate. Continental requested from Williams an explanation of benefits from his primary health insurance carrier and a medical records authorization form which allowed Continental "to correspond directly with [Williams's] doctors regarding . . . bills and treatment."

         ¶6. Platt photographed the boat, trailer, and winch, including the handle which had struck Williams. Platt took recorded statements from Peters, Peters's wife, and Williams. Platt also received authorization from Williams to obtain his medical records. His report of the investigation concluded that Williams ultimately had to have surgery "to reattach the retina" and a second surgery "to place an artificial lens in the eye, to see if they could restore his vision." According to Platt's report of September 13, 2013, "[s]ince the surgeries, [Williams] has experienced some inter-ocular pressure" and "[i]f the pressure in the eye cannot be controlled, another surgery may be needed to insert a valve to allow drainage of fluid from the eye to relieve pressure . . . ." The injury caused Williams to have limited vision and, thus, Platt stated that "[w]e will have to retrieve the [medical] records and monitor [Williams's] medical progress towards maximum medical cure, and determine if he has any permanent disability in the end . . . ." He assumed the combined medical bills and lost wages would be substantial. On September 19, 2013, Platt sent Williams's medical records to Continental from initial evaluations at Gulfport Memorial Hospital and Tri-County Eye Clinic and from a specialist at Vitreoretinal Eye Center.

         ¶7. On September 27, 2013, Continental paid Williams $1, 000, Peters's policy limit for Medical Payments coverage. Continental also provided a check to Williams for $25, 000 in excess of the Medical Payments coverage, but informed him that such payment was not an admission "of liability or wrongdoing, and any monies paid herein are credited toward any ultimate monetary resolution."

         ¶8. On October 22, 2013, attorney Robert Schwartz of Biloxi notified Continental that he had been retained on behalf of Williams and, on November 5, 2013, Continental sent Schwartz a copy of Peters's insurance policy. Also on November 5, 2013, Continental's defense counsel, Jedd Malish of New Orleans, opined in an e-mail to Continental that the Allstate auto policy "should provide primary coverage for this claim, " that the Continental boat policy "should only provide coverage i[f] [Williams's] damages exceed $250, 000, " and that "[b]ecause Allstate has primary coverage for this loss, it has the duty to defend this claim."

         ¶9. On November 6, Malish informed Continental that Schwartz had requested a copy of the Allstate policy and had informed him that Williams's medical bills were in excess of $100, 000, that only twenty to thirty percent of Williams's vision had been restored, that future surgery or surgeries possibly would be necessary, and that Williams was at risk for developing glaucoma. Accordingly, Malish observed that the damages could exceed the $250, 000 Allstate auto policy limit and that Continental would be obligated to pay the excess.

         ¶10. Peters then made a claim with Allstate. At Allstate's request, Continental sent a copy of Peters's Continental boat policy to Allstate on November 11, 2013. Continental clarified its position that Allstate had provided primary coverage, that it had a duty to defend Peters, and that, consequently, it was obligated to pay up to its policy limit of $250, 000. It tendered Peters's defense to Allstate.

         ¶11. Allstate responded on December 19, 2013, and informed Continental that it took the position that the "other insurance" clauses of the policies were in conflict and "that Allstate and [Continental] should share in this loss on a pro rata basis according to their respective policy limits."According to Allstate, "[t]he Allstate auto policy has $250, 000 of coverage and the [Continental] policy has $300, 000 of coverage, which after doing the math means that Allstate has 45% of the available coverage and [Continental] has 55% of the available coverage, " therefore "the defense costs and any settlement or other payment should be prorated accordingly."

         ¶12. Continental replied by letter on January 20, 2014, that no conflict existed between the "other insurance" clauses, since the Allstate policy provided pro rata apportionment of coverage where more than one policy was primary, and the Continental policy, conversely, provided that it was to provide coverage in excess of other available insurance. According to Continental, "Mississippi courts have consistently applied the full effect of an excess clause where the other policy provided for pro rata coverage." Allstate replied by e-mail on February 11, 2014, that, "[b]ecause the boat insured by the [Continental] policy was the cause of the incident and the trailer was simply present at the scene but not really involved, we do not believe that a court would conclude that the boat policy should have no other exposure other than excess."

         ¶13. Continental and Allstate ultimately agreed to defend Peters and to reserve the coverage dispute "until the underlying matter is ultimately resolved by settlement or trial." However, the insurers could not agree with regard to which should handle the defense and select defense counsel. Allstate argued that, if Continental was, as it claimed, an excess insurance carrier, then Continental "does not get to choose the way that the case is defended or by whom." In the meantime, Williams's counsel, Schwartz, informed Continental and Allstate that Williams would be demanding $1, 285, 000.

         ¶14. Continental expressed, by letter dated July 2, 2014, an interest in attempting mediation of the underlying claim and Allstate agreed. The case settled at mediation on September 19, 2014, for $460, 000, with Continental and Allstate each paying fifty percent of that amount to Williams.

         ¶15. Continental then, on November 3, 2014, sent a demand letter to Allstate requesting $20, 000, the difference between the $230, 000 Allstate had paid and the Allstate policy limit of $250, 000. Continental maintained that Allstate, as primary carrier, was obligated to pay up to its policy limit. Further, Continental demanded $31, 979.11 in reimbursement for expenses it had incurred in investigating and defending the claims. Continental's total demand of Allstate was $51, 979.11. Allstate rejected the demand in a letter dated November 18, 2014, maintaining that Continental's tendered payment of $230, 000 at mediation was $23, 000 under what it was obligated to pay under a pro rata apportionment. Because Continental "would have 55% of the total exposure, " Allstate contended, it had "underpaid at mediation in the amount of $23, 000[] (55% of $460, 00 is $253, 000 and [Continental] only contributed $230, 000 to the settlement)."

         ¶16. From December 2014 to May 2015, Continental proposed, and Allstate rejected, two proposals to settle the claim for $15, 000 and $10, 000 respectively, and also a proposal that the companies "have our attorneys work up a stipulated set of facts for a suit seeking declaratory judgment to present to the Court on cross motions."

         ¶17. In consequence of the insurers' inability to resolve the dispute, Continental filed suit in the Circuit Court of the First Judicial District of Harrison County on July 7, 2015, claiming entitlement to a total of $40, 245.51. Continental sought a declaratory judgment that Allstate was the primary insurer and that Continental was an excess insurer. Continental further sought "to recover contribution from Allstate in the amount of $20, 000 arising from Allstate's duties as the sole primary insurer" and also $20, 245.51, the "reasonable and necessary defense costs Continental incurred after tendering the defense of Mr. Williams'[s] claim to Allstate."

         ¶18. Allstate answered on August 6, 2015. In addition to denying Continental's claims, Allstate counterclaimed for a declaratory judgment that Allstate and Continental both were primary insurers and thus both should have been obligated to pay a pro rata apportionment of the settlement. Allstate sought $23, 000: "From a total settlement amount of $460, 000, Allstate was thus responsible for a payment of $207, 000 (45%) and because they paid $230, 000 (50%), they are entitled to a reimbursement from Continental in the amount of $23, 000." Allstate further sought sanctions pursuant to Mississippi Rule of Civil Procedure 11 and the Litigation Accountability Act, Mississippi Code Section 11-55-3 et seq., including "reasonable fees and expenses incurred by Allstate in defending" Continental's claims that Allstate had failed to defend.

         ¶19. Allstate also filed on August 6, 2015, a motion to dismiss Continental's claims for defense costs and expenses and for sanctions against Continental. Allstate argued that a duty to defend never arose because Williams never filed a lawsuit. According to Allstate, it "actively investigated the incident when it was reported by its insured and continued that investigation up until the time of settlement." Because Continental unilaterally incurred defense costs, according to Allstate, its "claim for recovery of defense costs and expenses is patently frivolous and subject to sanctions" under Rule 11 and the Litigation Accountability Act.

         ¶20. Continental filed a response in opposition to Allstate's motion to dismiss on August 24, 2015, in which Continental argued that the motion to dismiss should be converted to a motion for summary judgment based on Allstate's having submitted various exhibits which had not been attached to the pleadings. Continental's response was twofold: first, it argued that "Allstate's conduct during the pendency of Mr. Peters'[s] claim amounted to a wrongful refusal to defend, thus entitling Continental to recover defense costs." Second, Continental claimed entitlement to recover defense costs under a theory of equitable subrogation. Continental responded to Allstate's request for sanctions by indicating that its claim was not frivolous because "Continental not only has some 'hope' of recovering defense costs under at least one of the theories, but it also believes that the facts garnered through discovery will prove Continental's claim for defense costs meritorious."

         ¶21. The circuit court considered Allstate's motion to dismiss as a motion for partial summary judgment and dismissed Continental's claim for defense costs and expenses, finding that Allstate had no duty to defend because no complaint had been filed based on the underlying claim. The court observed that "Continental began its investigation of the claim prior to its knowledge of the Allstate policy" and therefore, "it appears Allstate's actions or inactions did not affect how Continental conducted its investigation." The circuit court further found that, because Allstate had not breached a duty to defend, Continental was not entitled to recover defense costs under a theory of equitable subrogation. Nevertheless, the circuit court determined that sanctions were not warranted because Continental's defense costs claim was neither frivolous nor had it been "interposed for delay or harassment."

         ¶22. Allstate moved for summary judgment on the remaining indemnity claim on November 19, 2015. It maintained its argument that both it and Continental had been primary insurers and that, as such, each should have paid a pro rata apportionment of the $460, 000 claim. Because each insurer paid $230, 000 in settlement of the claim, or half, Allstate maintained its argument that Continental should have paid $253, 000, fifty-five percent of the total coverage, and that Allstate should have had to pay only $207, 000, forty-five percent of the total coverage, leaving an overpayment by Allstate of $23, 000.

         ¶23. On December 7, 2015, Continental filed an opposition to summary judgment and reiterated its argument that its excess clause controlled over Allstate's pro rata clause and that, as such, it was obligated to pay only any amount in excess of Allstate's $250, 000 policy limit. Consequently, it claimed entitlement to $20, 000 from Allstate, since it had paid $230, 000 and, Continental contended, should have paid only $210, 000. Continental argued further that, even under Allstate's pro rata apportionment theory, Allstate would be entitled to only $20, 884, not $23, 000.[1] Continental also memorialized these arguments in a motion for summary judgment, filed on January 11, 2016, claiming again that it was entitled to $20, 000 because Allstate was the sole primary insurer and Continental was the excess carrier.

         ¶24. The circuit court granted summary judgment to Allstate on February 22, 2016: "[H]aving reviewed the applicable law as well as the language contained in the policies against the undisputed facts, the Court determines that Continental is a co-primary insurer and should share in the loss with Allstate on a pro rata basis." The court found "particularly relevant" the fact that the "underlying incident directly involved the boat insured by Continental Casualty, invoking the boating liability section of Continental's policy." Ultimately, however, the Court awarded to Allstate $20, 884, the amount Continental agreed it was obligated to pay under Allstate's pro rata apportionment theory.

         ¶25. Continental filed its notice of appeal on March 7, 2016. Allstate filed a notice of cross-appeal on the circuit court's denial of sanctions against Continental.

         ¶26. The issues raised on appeal are restated as follows:

1. Whether the circuit court properly granted summary judgment to Allstate on its indemnity claim, having found that both Allstate and Continental should pay the claim on a pro rata basis.
2. Whether the circuit court properly granted summary judgment to Allstate on Continental's claim that it was entitled to recover the defense costs and expenses incurred after tendering defense to Allstate.
3. ON CROSS-APPEAL: Whether the circuit court erred by failing to sanction Continental for making a frivolous claim for defense costs and expenses.

         Each issue is addressed in turn.

         STANDARD OF REVIEW

         ¶27. This Court reviews a trial court's grant of summary judgment de novo. Guidant Mut. Ins. Co. v. Indem. Ins. Co. of N. Am., 13 So.3d 1270, 1275 (Miss. 2009) (citing Wise v. United Servs. Auto. Ass'n, 861 So.2d 308, 311 (Miss. 2003)). Summary judgment "shall be rendered forthwith if 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." Miss. R. Civ. P. 56(c).

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.

Robichaux v. Nationwide Mut. Fire Ins. Co., 81 So.3d 1030, 1035 (Miss. 2011) (quoting Brown v. Credit Ctr., Inc., 444 So.2d 358, 362 (Miss. 1983)).

         DISCUSSION

         1. Whether the circuit court properly granted summary judgment to Allstate on its indemnity claim, having found that both Allstate and Continental should pay the claim on a pro rata basis.

         ¶28. Allstate argues at the outset that "this issue is very simple and can be resolved without any detailed analysis of the two policies and the other insurance clauses." It cites the "longstanding law in Mississippi" that "the issuer of the liability insurance policy to the owner of the vehicle involved in the accident[] is the primary insurer." Guidant, 13 So.3d at 1277. Thus, Allstate contends therefore that, because the boat covered by the Continental policy was in use at the time of Williams's injury, Continental is the primary coverage carrier: "Allstate's policy insures the truck to which the trailer was attached, but it provides no separate coverage for the trailer or boat; the Allstate policy is invoked only because the trailer was attached to the truck they insured."

         ¶29. In Guidant, a volunteer firefighter was driving to the scene of a fire in his personal vehicle when his vehicle collided with another vehicle, seriously injuring the occupants. Guidant, 13 So.3d at 1273. Guidant Mutual Insurance Company insured the firefighter's personal vehicle and Indemnity Insurance Company of North America had issued a business automobile policy to the county which employed the firefighter. Id. Applying the "longstanding law in Mississippi" that "the insurance policy issued to the owner of the vehicle is the primary policy, " this Court held that Guidant was the primary carrier, its policy having been "issued to the owner of the vehicle." Id. at 1277. The Indemnity policy, while it insured county employees, provided "that coverage for vehicles not owned by [the county] or the fire department was 'excess over any other insurance' maintained by the county volunteers or employees on their personal vehicles." Id.

         ¶30. Allstate is correct that this case is unlike Guidant in that the volunteer firefighter in that case was driving his personal vehicle, which was not owned by the county by which he was employed. By contrast, here, Peters owned the boat, trailer, and truck, all three of which were "involved in the accident." But it is undisputed that the truck and trailer were insured by Allstate.[2] Allstate therefore makes an inferential leap to conclude that Continental is the primary insurer, because while Peters's boat was "involved in the accident, " Peters's truck and attached trailer also were "involved in the accident."[3] The winch handle that struck Williams was part of the trailer. Moreover, in Guidant, the Court examined the language of the "other insurance" clauses in the respective Guidant and Indemnity policies to support its conclusion that Guidant was the primary insurer.

         ¶31. This Court has stated that "'[t]he general common law rule is that "the liability of insurers under overlapping coverage policies is to be governed by the intent of the insurers as manifested by the terms of the policies which they have issued."'" Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Miss., Inc. v. Larson, 485 So.2d 1071, 1074 (Miss. 1986) (quoting Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Kan., Inc. v. Riverside Hosp., 703 P.2d 1384, 1390-91 (Kan. 1985) (quoting 16 Couch on Insurance 2d § 62:44, at 480 (rev'd ed. 1983))). See also Farmers Ins. Exchange v. Hartford Cas. Ins. Co., 907 F.Supp. 234, 236 (S.D.Miss. 1995) ("When more than one insurance policy covers a particular incident, courts look first to the language of the policies to settle any disputes as to the application of the respective coverages.").

         ¶32. This Court has observed:

[W]e gave examples of three broad categories of "other insurance" clauses where the phraseology of the policies permitted. The first is a "pro rata" clause in which one company is primary but agrees to pay its prorata share with other primary insurers. The second category is the "excess" clause, which insures the loss only to the extent it is not paid by other insurance. The third category is the "escape" clause where the insurer disclaims any liability where there is other coverage.

Larson, 485 So.2d at 1072-73 (citing Travelers Indem. Co. v. Chappell, 246 So.2d 498 (Miss. 1971)). The Court continued:

[S]o long as the escape v. escape clauses, excess v. excess clauses, and prorata v. prorata clauses were identical, the courts held them to be conflicting and nugatory so as to cancel each other out, and therefore liability under the two policies was prorated between the two insurance policies in the ratio of the limits of liability fixed in each policy which bears to the total limits in all of the policies covering the risk.

Larson, 485 So.2d at 1073 (quoting Chappell, 246 So.2d at 503). The Court noted, however, that "where an excess clause is in conflict with . . . a prorata clause in the other policy, the excess clause ordinarily would be given full effect." Larson, 485 So.2d at 1073 (quoting Chappell, 246 So.2d at 503). See also Farmers Ins. Exch., 907 F.Supp. at 238 (citation omitted) (The "majority rule, by far, is that 'excess insurance' is considered to prevail over pro rata-that is, it is not other valid and collectible insurance within a pro rata clause").

         ¶33. Here, the respective insurance policies contained "other insurance" clauses. The Allstate policy's "other insurance" clause stated the following: "[i]f more than one policy applies on a primary basis to an accident involving your insured auto, we will bear our proportionate share[4] with other collectible liability insurance." (Emphasis in original.) The Continental policy's "other insurance" clause stated that "[i]f there is any other available insurance that would apply in the absence of this policy, this insurance shall apply as excess over the other insurance . . . ."

         ¶34. Continental compares its "other insurance" clause, which provided for excess coverage "if there is any other available insurance that would apply, " to the "other insurance" clause found in Allstate's policy, which provided that "[i]f more than one policy applies on a primary basis to an accident involving your insured auto, we will bear our proportionate share with other collectible liability insurance." (Emphasis in original.) While Allstate's "other insurance" clause provided that Allstate would bear a share proportionate with other collectible liability insurance in the event of an accident involving an insured auto, Continental's applied specifically to providing excess coverage when "any other available insurance" would apply. Allstate's policy, too, contained an excess clause: "[i]f an insured person is using a substitute auto or non-owned auto, our liability insurance will be excess over other collectible insurance." (Emphasis in original.) Clearly, Allstate's excess clause has no application to the facts of the present case.

         ¶35. "[W]here an excess clause is in conflict with . . . a prorata clause in the other policy, the excess clause ordinarily would be given full effect." Larson, 485 So.2d at 1073 (quoting Chappell, 246 So.2d at 503). Accordingly, Continental argues that "the pro rata clause in the Allstate policy remains dormant because the Continental policy would not constitute 'collectible liability insurance' necessary to trigger Allstate's 'other insurance' clause." (Emphasis in original.)

         ¶36. This Court has held that the primary insurance policy limits must be exhausted before the excess carrier's liability arises:

[T]he so-called "other insurance" clause in the primary policy excluding or modifying liability if the additional insured has other valid and collectible insurance is inapplicable because the insurance under the excess coverage policy is not to be regarded as other collectible insurance available to the insured until the primary policy has been exhausted.

Indem. Ins. Co. of N. Am. v. Guidant Mut. Ins. Co., 99 So.3d 142, 156 (Miss. 2012) (quoting Chappell, 246 So.2d at 505 (quoting Couch on Insurance 2d § 62:60, 508-509 (1966))) (emphasis added). Accordingly, Continental argues that Allstate's policy limits of $250, 000 must be exhausted before Continental's excess clause applies. Because Allstate paid only $230, 000, Continental maintains on appeal that it is entitled to recover the $20, 000 difference.

         ¶37. Allstate responds with three arguments: first, it argues that the terms of the Continental policy are ambiguous; second, it argues that the "other insurance" clauses in the Allstate and Continental policies are in conflict and, therefore, Mississippi law requires a pro rata apportionment; and third, it argues that Allstate and Continental do not insure the same property for the same risk.

         ¶38. Allstate argues first that, because the boating liability section of the Continental policy contains a separate "other insurance" clause, the "other insurance" clause in the general section of the Continental policy renders the terms ambiguous. This Court has held that "[i]f a contract contains ambiguous or unclear language, then ambiguities must be resolved in favor of the non-drafting party." United States Fid. and Guar. Co. of Miss. v. Martin, 998 So.2d 956, 963 (Miss. 2008) (citing J & W Woods Corp. v. State Farm Mut. Auto. Ins. Co., 723 So.2d 550, 552 (Miss.1998)). "Ambiguities exist when a policy can be logically interpreted in two or more ways . . . ." Martin, 998 So.2d at 963 (citing Crum v. Johnson, 809 So.2d 663, 666 (Miss. 2002)). "However, ambiguities do not exist simply because two parties disagree over the interpretation of a policy." Martin, 998 So.2d at 963 (citing HeartSouth PLLC v. Boyd, 865 So.2d 1095, 1105 (Miss. 2003)).

         ¶39. Continental's "other insurance" clause, which appears in the "General Conditions" section of the ...


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