Foremost Insurance Co. v. Parham

In Foremost Insurance Co. v. Parham, 693 So. 2d 409 (Ala. 1997) the Court returned to the "reasonable-reliance" standard (for "all fraud cases filed after the date of the Foremost decision, i.e., all cases filed after March 14, 1997"), stating: "A return to the 'reasonable reliance' standard will once again provide a mechanism, which was available before Hickox v. Stover, whereby the trial court can enter a judgment as a matter of law in a fraud case where the undisputed evidence indicates that the party or parties claiming fraud in a particular transaction were fully capable of reading and understanding their documents, but nonetheless made a deliberate decision to ignore written contract terms." (693 So. 2d at 421.) In Foremost, the Court held that, under the reasonable reliance standard, the plaintiffs' claims alleging fraud would have been barred by the statute of limitations because the plaintiffs had had access to all the pertinent insurance documents at issue and, had they chosen to do so, could have easily read the insurance documents and determined the full extent of their insurance coverage. 693 So. 2d at 422. The plaintiffs' failure to read the insurance documents would not have tolled the running of the limitations period, under the reasonable-reliance standard. Id.