Friday, August 24, 2007
No uninsured motorist coverage for passengers who were not insured persons for an automobile's liability insurance policy, and a much smaller payday for plaintiffs' attorneys. Nebraska Supreme Court, J Stephan with Gerrard, J and Heavican CJ concurring rules for Shelter against its insured's passenger who was injured in an accident with an uninsured automobile. Jones v. Shelter Mut. Ins. Cos., S-06-310, 274 Neb. 186. Shelter excluded passengers in their insureds' vehicle who were not themselves insured persons under the policy. Although permitted drivers were covered, guest passengers were not. Plaintiff and his own uninsured carrier American Family argued Shelter's policy violated 44-6408 . 44-6408 requires liability insurers who provide insurance for bodily injury... arising out of the ownership, operation, maintenance, or use of a motor vehicle to also provide to persons insured who are legally entitled to recover compensatory damages for bodily injury (uninsured and uninsured motorist coverage). Supreme Court rules Shelter did not violate public policy by restricting the meaning of "use" of the motor vehicle to those guests who were operating or maintaining it. Justice Gerrard, concurring, cant wait to butt in and tell the Unicameral how it should write its laws. Gerrard states he is concerned about unsuspecting passengers who throw themselves at the mercy of uninsured drivers. Good enough, but how about the plaintiff attorneys who win smaller settlements because of this ruling? Don't they deserve favorable mention from their champion John Gerrard?