Uninsured Motorist Insurance Coverage and Public Roads

Nationwide Property and Casualty Ins. Co. v. Steward, [Ms. 1190011, Sept. 18, 2020], ___ So. 3d ___ (Ala. 2020). The Court (Parker, C.J.; Wise, Mendheim, and Stewart, JJ., concur; Bryan, J., concurs in the result; Bolin, Shaw, Sellers, and Mitchell, JJ., dissent) affirms a summary judgment entered by the Etowah Circuit Court in favor of Steward who claimed uninsured-motorist benefits from Nationwide after he was injured in an accident involving a recreational vehicle at a publicly owned and operated all-terrain-vehicle park (“Top Trails”) in Talladega. At issue was whether the roadway upon which Steward was injured was a “public road” as required for uninsured motorist coverage to apply under Nationwide’s policy. The Court relies upon (Ms. **5-6) passages from a treatise, 1 Alan I. Widiss & Jeffrey E. Thomas, Uninsured and Underinsured Motorist Insurance, § 8.10 (3d ed. 2005) and a dictionary, Random House Webster’s Unabridged Dictionary, 1562 (2d ed. 2001) in concluding that Steward’s interpretation of “public road” was, as found by the Etowah Circuit Court in granting summary judgment in his favor, reasonable. Accordingly, the summary judgment in favor of coverage is due to be affirmed.

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