LITIGATION DEPARTMENT OF THE YEAR - Mid-Size Firm  ALM's Daily Report   2017 - 2016 - 2014

WWHGD Client Receives Summary Judgment in Rental Car Insurance Case

Atlanta

Weinberg Wheeler Hudgins Gunn & Dial partner, Patrick Moore, and associate, Steve Rapp, successfully defended The Hertz Corporation (“Hertz”) in an insurance dispute due to a rental car accident.

The case concerned a Hertz customer who became involved in a high speed police chase during which the customer unlawfully eluded Jackson County, Georgia deputies. The customer collided with the plaintiff causing the death of the plaintiff’s wife. The customer tested positive for methamphetamines at the time of the accident.

The plaintiff obtained a consent judgment against the customer for nearly $6,000,000. After collecting $200,000 from the customer’s personal insurance carrier, the plaintiff agreed to not collect against the customer personally and sought to collect $5,500,000 from Hertz via a garnishment action. The plaintiff argued Hertz’ self-insurance plan rendered Hertz the excess insurer for customer. After both parties filed motions for summary judgment, the Court agreed Hertz was responsible for any excess insurance. However, Hertz argued that any excess insurance provided by Hertz to the customer was excluded due to the terms of the rental contract which excluded all coverage in the event the customer engaged in certain prohibited conduct. The court agreed with Hertz and granted Hertz’ motion for summary judgment. 

“This was a novel and difficult case in that there had been no other cases in state court just like it,” said Patrick Moore. “The court relied on some state cases that suggested the appropriate direction and a federal case which was on point.” 

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