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Lachlan Maclearn & A. v. Commerce Insurance Company

January 27, 2012

LACHLAN MACLEARN & A.
v.
COMMERCE INSURANCE COMPANY



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Hicks, J.

a.m. on the morning of their release. The direct address of the court's home page is: http://www.courts.state.nh.us/supreme.

Argued: October 19, 2011

The petitioner, Lachlan MacLearn, and the intervenor, Simon Hutchings (together, the appellants), appeal an order of the Superior Court (Abramson, J.) denying Hutchings' motion for summary judgment and granting summary judgment in favor of the respondent, Commerce Insurance Company (Commerce). We affirm.

The trial court found or the record supports the following facts. Lachlan MacLearn and his wife, Wendy MacLearn, were married in 2004, and reside

together. In 2006, Mrs. MacLearn purchased a 2006 Toyota Prius, which she insured through a GEICO insurance policy.

On October 16, 2008, Mr. MacLearn was driving the Prius when he was involved in a motor vehicle accident, seriously injuring Hutchings. At the time of the accident, Mr. MacLearn owned a 2000 Audi A6 that was insured under a policy (the policy) with Commerce. The policy declarations listed Mr. MacLearn as the named insured and listed only the Audi A6 as the insured's automobile.

Hutchings sued Mr. MacLearn seeking damages for his injuries. Mr.

MacLearn made demand upon Commerce for defense and indemnification.

Commerce denied the claim, stating that coverage was barred by Exclusion B.2. That exclusion, as amended by an endorsement to conform the policy to RSA 259:61 (Supp. 2011), provides:

B. We do not provide Liability Coverage for the ownership, maintenance or use of:

2. Any vehicle, other than "your covered auto", which is:

a. Owned by you; or b. Furnished for your regular use.

The denial letter noted that the policy defined "Your covered auto" to mean "Any vehicle shown in the Declarations" or a "newly acquired auto." It also noted the specific meanings of "you" and "your," which the policy define as follows:

A. Throughout this policy, "you" and "your" refer to:

1. The "named insured" shown in the Declarations; and

2. The spouse if a resident of the same household.

The letter then stated that "[n]o coverage exists for the 2006 Toyota Prius based on the policy language referenced above since Commerce Insurance does not provide liability coverage for a vehicle, other than ...


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