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Tri-National, Inc. v. Yelder

United States Court of Appeals, Eighth Circuit

March 20, 2015

Tri-National, Inc., Plaintiff - Appellee,
v.
Larry D. Yelder; Yelder-N-Son Trucking, Inc., Defendants, Canal Insurance Company, Defendant - Appellant

Submitted: January 13, 2015.

Page 409

Appeal from United States District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri - Cape Girardeau.

For Tri-National, Inc., Plaintiff - Appellee: Susan P. Layton, Wade Schuster, Stephen Ray Southard, Shanna Keel Surratt, Layton & Southard, Cape Girardeau, MO.

For Canal Insurance Company, Defendant - Appellant: Kristi Anne Driskill, Allan S. Jones, Carr & Allison, Vestavia Hills, AL; Daniel Thomas Rabbitt Jr., The Rabbitt Law Firm, LLC, Saint Louis, MO.

Before RILEY, Chief Judge, COLLOTON and KELLY, Circuit Judges.

OPINION

Page 410

RILEY, Chief Judge.

This insurance dispute presents an issue of first impression in our circuit: whether the federally mandated Motor Carrier Act (MCA) of 1980[1] MCS-90 endorsement for motor carriers requires a tortfeasor's insurer to compensate an injured party when the injured party has already been compensated by its own insurer. The district court[2] decided the MCS-90 endorsement requires such compensation, and we agree. Having appellate jurisdiction under 28 U.S.C. § 1291, we affirm the district court's summary judgment.

I. BACKGROUND

On June 14, 2007, while operating a semi tractor and trailer, Larry D. Yelder Sr., an employee of Yelder-N-Son Trucking, Inc.

Page 411

(collectively, Yelder defendants), collided with a Tri-National, Inc. truck, causing extensive property damage. Tri-National filed a claim with its insurer, Harco Insurance Company, which paid Tri-National $91,100 and retained a subrogation interest in the claim.

At the time of the accident, the Yelder defendants were insured by Canal Insurance Company under policy number 488142 (Canal policy), which included an MCS-90 endorsement. In 2010, in the District Court for the Middle District of Alabama, Canal sought a declaratory judgment against the Yelder defendants and Harco, among others, declaring (1) Canal had no duty to defend or indemnify the Yelder defendants under the Canal policy, and (2) the MCS-90 endorsement did not require Canal to satisfy Harco's subrogation claim. The Alabama court entered default judgment against the Yelder defendants only, stating Canal had no duty to defend or indemnify the Yelder defendants under the Canal policy, but the Alabama court made no declaration about the MCS-90 endorsement.

In June 2010, Harco filed a motion to dismiss for failure to join an indispensable party, Tri-National. At a pretrial conference, Harco represented to the Alabama court that it was " not [Harco's] intention to ever make a claim against [Canal]," and that it " would be Tri-National who would go after Canal, not Harco." Canal responded that " [i]f it's on the record that [Harco] won't go after Canal, then we're okay with that." The Alabama district court then dismissed Harco without prejudice " [b]y agreement of the parties made during a pretrial conference."

Tri-National sued the Yelder defendants in Missouri state court and in July 2012 obtained a $91,100 default judgment. In November 2012, Tri-National filed a petition for equitable garnishment in Missouri state court against Canal in an effort to collect on the Missouri state court's default judgment. According to Tri-National, the decision to file the petition was Harco's, Tri-National had no input in the ...


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