Monday, September 14, 2015

Massachusetts Appellate Division holds that third party property damage coverage in auto policy does not cover cost to tow insured's vehicle

David Raposa was operating an SUV that was involved in a single-car collision.  Big Wheel Truck Sales, Inc. towed the SUV. 

Raposa was insured by Safety but did not have coverage for towing.  He did have coverage for "damage to someone else's property."  That coverage provided:
Under this Part, we will pay damages to someone else whose auto or other property is damaged in an accident.  The damages we will pay are the amounts that person is legally entitled to collect for property damage through a court judgment or settlement.  . . .  Damages include any applicable sales tax and the costs resulting from loss of use of the property.
Big Wheel made a demand to Safety for payment of its invoice under Raposa's property damage coverage. 

Safety refused payment, asserting that Big Wheel itself did not sustain any damage as a result of the accident. 

The trial court granted summary judgment to Big Wheel on breach of contract and 93A claims.

In Big Wheel Truck Sales, Inc. v. David Raposa, 2015 WL 5098500 (Mass. App. Div.), the Massachusetts Appellate Division reversed, holding that the property damage coverage was unambiguously inapplicable to Big Wheel.  Its claim was for the cost of its services, not for damage to its own property. 

Congratulations to Pete Bosse and Tanya Austin of my old firm, Boyle, Shaughnessy & Campo, who represented Safety. 

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