Argonaut Insurance Co. v. Pacific Indemnity Co – Case Brief Summary (Louisiana)

In Argonaut Insurance Co. v. Pacific Indemnity Co., 256 So. 2d 858 (La.App. 3 Cir. 1972), a bus carrying company employees to a job site was struck by a tractor-trailer owned by the same company. The company's workers' compensation insurer settled the workers' compensation claims and filed suit against, among others, the bus driver's personal automobile insurer.

The insurer sought and received summary judgment on the matter of its liability, based, inter alia, on an exclusion in its policy which provided as follows:

This policy does not apply under Part I:

(h) to a non-owned automobile while maintained or used by any person while such person is employed or otherwise engaged in (1) the automobile business of the insured or of any other person or organization, (2) Any other business or occupation of the insured, but this exclusion (h)(2) does not apply to a private passenger automobile operated or occupied by the named insured or by his private chauffeur or domestic servant or a trailer used therewith or with an owned automobile: Id. at 859.

Since the bus driver was engaged in his occupation at the time of the accident and driving something other than a private passenger vehicle, his insurer argued that the afore examined exclusionary clause denied coverage. However, the workers' compensation insurer argued that the "person" referred to in the exclusion meant an employee of the insured engaged in the business of the insured.

After examining the totality of the insurance policy, the Court concluded that had the word "persons," as used in the policy, been intended to exclude the named insured, the policy would have so provided.

Accordingly, the Court held that there was no coverage since the insured was operating a non-private passenger vehicle in the course of his occupation as a bus driver.