Alexander v. MAIF, et al. Petition for Writ of Certiorari granted (Case No. 62, Sept. Term 2004)
MAIF settled for full policy limits after Ms. Alexander’s appellate brief was filed in the Court of Appeals.
Teri Spradlin represented Ms. Alexander on appeal from a denial of coverage in a carjacking case, in which her client was severely injured. Maryland Automobile Insurance Fund (MAIF) was Ms. Alexander’s uninsured motorist carrier.
MAIF denied coverage under the uninsured motorist (UM) provision in the policy and was dismissed as a defendant in the district court because the carjacker admitted liability for causing Ms. Alexander’s injuries. The district court found that the car was “insured” as to preclude coverage under the UM provision. The court stated that if Ms. Alexander had been injured by a car other than her own, her injuries would have been covered.
Ms. Spradlin represented Ms. Alexander on appeal in the circuit court, from the adverse ruling in the district court. The circuit court, however, affirmed the decision of the district court. The circuit court agreed with the district court that Ms. Alexander had not triggered the UM provision in her policy where she was insured and it was her car that injured her.
Ms. Spradlin filed a Petition for Writ of Certiorari to the Court of Appeals, which was granted. On appeal, she argued that the car became “uninsured” when commandeered by a carjacker. The Court of Appeals was asked to determine the meaning of “insured” and “uninsured” within the language of Ms. Alexander’s contract with MAIF, and the legislative intent of Maryland’s uninsured motorist law.
Ms. Spradlin fully briefed the case on behalf of Ms. Alexander. The day MAIF’s brief was due to be filed in the Court of Appeals, MAIF settled for full policy limits. MAIF’s UM policy exclusions are statutory. More than likely, by settling the case, MAIF avoided a reported opinion precluding it from denying coverage in carjacking cases.