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Lopez v. GEICO Gen. Ins. Co.

United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit

January 23, 2018, Decided

No. 16-15551 Non-Argument Calendar

Opinion

 [*780]  PER CURIAM:

Sheryl Lopez sued Timothy Montoya for negligence after the car Montoya was driving, which belonged to his girlfriend, hit Lopez's car. Montoya assigned to Lopez the rights to any proceeds recoverable under his GEICO General Insurance Company ("GEICO") policy. Lopez filed suit against GEICO, seeking coverage for the collision. The district court ruled that the policy barred coverage and granted summary judgment for GEICO. This is Lopez's appeal from the grant of summary judgment to GEICO and the denial of summary judgment to her.

This case stems from a car wreck that happened on April 22, 2014. For several years prior to the wreck, Montoya and his girlfriend, Alexandra Medina, resided together [**2]  but were unmarried. Montoya owned a Volkswagen Passat and had an auto insurance policy with GEICO (the "Policy"). In 2012, Montoya added Medina and her Suzuki Vitara to the Policy. Medina was the sole owner of the Suzuki. In 2013, Montoya and Medina bought a Chevy Impala and added it to the Policy. They eventually dropped the Suzuki from the Policy. Medina planned to keep the Suzuki in the driveway until her son was old enough to drive. She permitted Montoya to drive the Suzuki when his Passat was inoperable.

On April 19, 2014, Montoya noticed mechanical problems with his Passat and had it towed to a repair shop. Three days later,  [*781]  while his Passat was at the shop,2 Montoya got Medina's permission to drive the Suzuki to work. En route, Montoya rear-ended the car in front of him, which hit a third car. Lopez was injured in the wreck.

Lopez sued Montoya for negligence in Florida court. GEICO refused to defend or indemnify him because according to it, the "Suzuki was not a listed vehicle and does not meet the definition of non owned vehicle." Montoya agreed to the entry of a final judgment against him for $485,000 and assigned to Lopez his rights against GEICO. Lopez, as Montoya's assignee, [**3]  filed suit against GEICO, seeking declaratory relief to determine the existence of insurance coverage and damages for breach of contract. The district court stayed the breach of contract claim pending resolution of the coverage claim. Both parties moved for summary judgment, and the district court granted GEICO's motion and entered final judgment against Lopez. This is her appeal.

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723 Fed. Appx. 779 *; 2018 U.S. App. LEXIS 1929 **; 2018 WL 509488

SHERYL LOPEZ, as assignee of Timothy Montoya, Plaintiff-Appellant, versus GEICO GENERAL INSURANCE COMPANY, a foreign corporation, Defendant-Appellee.

Notice: PLEASE REFER TO FEDERAL RULES OF APPELLATE PROCEDURE RULE 32.1 GOVERNING THE CITATION TO UNPUBLISHED OPINIONS.

Prior History:  [**1] Appeal from the United States District Court for the Middle District of Florida. D.C. Docket No. 8:15-cv-00349-MSS-MAP.

Lopez v. GEICO Gen. Ins. Co., 196 F. Supp. 3d 1270, 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 125557 (M.D. Fla., July 22, 2016)

CORE TERMS

named insured, singular, repair, summary judgment, temporary substitute, district court, wreck, coverage, shop

Civil Procedure, Summary Judgment, Entitlement as Matter of Law, Appropriateness, Insurance Law, Claim, Contract & Practice Issues, Policy Interpretation, Judicial Review, Appeals, Standards of Review, De Novo Review, Summary Judgment Review, Standards of Review, Preliminary Considerations, Federal & State Interrelationships, Erie Doctrine