Kevin Lawrimore v. Old Republic Insurance Company
UNPUBLISHED PER CURIAM OPINION filed. Originating case number: 2:14-cv-01275-RMG Copies to all parties and the district court/agency. .. [15-1431]
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UNITED STATES COURT OF APPEALS
FOR THE FOURTH CIRCUIT
Plaintiff - Appellant,
PROGRESSIVE DIRECT INSURANCE COMPANY,
Defendant – Appellee,
OLD REPUBLIC INSURANCE COMPANY,
Appeal from the United States District Court for the District of
South Carolina, at Charleston.
Richard Mark Gergel, District
December 17, 2015
January 5, 2016
Before WILKINSON and DIAZ, Circuit Judges, and HAMILTON, Senior
Affirmed by unpublished per curiam opinion.
Carl H. Jacobson, Jeffrey W. Buncher, Jr., URICCHIO HOWE KRELL
JACOBSON TOPOREK THEOS & KEITH, P.A., Charleston, South
Carolina, for Appellant.
Bradley L. Lanford, BAKER, RAVENEL &
BENDER, L.L.P., Columbia, South Carolina, for Appellee.
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Unpublished opinions are not binding precedent in this circuit.
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motion for summary judgment and denying Lawrimore’s Fed. R. Civ.
P. 59(e) motion.
“We review the district court’s grant of summary judgment
therefrom in the light most favorable to the nonmoving party.”
Bonds v. Leavitt, 629 F.3d 369, 380 (4th Cir. 2011).
judgment is appropriate where there are no genuine issues of
material fact and the moving party is entitled to judgment as a
matter of law.”
Hoschar v. Appalachian Power Co., 739 F.3d 163,
169 (4th Cir. 2014).
We review the district court’s denial of
Wilkins v. Montgomery, 751 F.3d 214, 220 (4th Cir.
As the district court exercised diversity jurisdiction over
this action, South Carolina law governs whether Progressive has
a coverage liability for the underlying accident.
Erie R.R. v.
Tompkins, 304 U.S. 64, 78-80 (1938); see Francis v. Allstate
Ins. Co., 709 F.3d 362, 369-72 (4th Cir. 2013) (applying state
law to determine if insurance company had duty under policy).
Under South Carolina law, “[i]nsurance policies are subject to
general rules of contract construction.”
Standard Fire Co. v.
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“Moreover, if the intention of the parties is
clear, courts have no authority to change insurance contracts in
any particular or to interpolate a condition or stipulation not
contemplated either by the law or by the contract between the
Id. at 461-62.
indisputable that Progressive does not have a coverage liability
for the accident in question because the vehicle driven by the
insured exceeded the gross vehicular weight rating for vehicles
covered by the policy.
Lawrimore, however, maintains that the
policy’s definition of “auto” with the broader definition of
“motor vehicle” found in the South Carolina Code.
See S.C. Code
Ann. § 38-77-30(9) (2015) (defining “motor vehicle” to include
“every self-propelled vehicle which is designed for use upon a
For purposes of interpreting the insurance policy
within the context of the claim at bar—i.e., a claim arising
from the insured’s use of a rental truck—we reject Lawrimore’s
A conformity clause has the effect of excising a provision
of an insurance policy that conflicts with or is voided by state
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statute or judicial rule of law.
See Kay v. State Farm Mut.
Auto. Ins. Co., 562 S.E.2d 676, 678-79 (S.C. Ct. App. 2002)
Under South Carolina law, “liability coverage for
hired and non-owned vehicles is not statutorily required . . .
and is provided by a voluntary contract between the insurer and
Therefore, the parties may choose their own terms
regarding coverage for hired and non-owned vehicles.”
U.S. Fid. & Guar. Ins. Co., 636 S.E.2d 626, 628 (S.C. 2006).
voluntary and subject to the agreed-upon terms in the policy,
the policy’s definition of “auto” is not voided by S.C. Code
Ann. § 38-77-30(9)’s definition of “motor vehicle” for purposes
vehicular accident underlying this action.
Accordingly, we affirm the district court’s orders granting
Civ. P. 59(e) motion.
We dispense with oral argument because
the facts and legal contentions are adequately presented in the
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