Florida’s Fifth District Court of Appeals Reverses Summary Judgment in Car Accident Case: Hubner v. Old Republic Insurance Co.

Florida’s Fifth District Court of Appeals has reversed a summary judgment order in a car accident case.  In Hubner v. Old Republic Insurance Co., a volunteer for Boy Scouts of America repeatedly transported a potential Eagle Scout in his personal vehicle to a cemetery to participate in a clean-up event. Following the final stage of the clean-up event, the man apparently drove home to retrieve a camera in order to photograph the end result of the Boy Scout’s efforts. After the volunteer returned to the cemetery and took photos, he headed home. The volunteer made no stops on his way home from the cemetery. While en route, the man reportedly struck another vehicle head-on. Both the volunteer and the other motorist were allegedly severely harmed in the automobile accident.

At the time of the collision, the Boy Scouts of America maintained a liability insurance policy that covers the organization’s registered volunteers who are acting within the scope of their official duties. According to the insurance policy, such duties were defined quite broadly. The two men involved in the crash later filed a claim against the insurance company for damages related to their accident injuries. As part of a declaratory judgment action, the insurance company acknowledged that the man was a registered volunteer with the organization for approximately 55 years when the wreck happened but argued before a trial court that he was no longer acting within the scope of his duties as a volunteer when the injury accident occurred.

The insurance company next filed a motion for summary judgment. In order to prevail on a motion for summary judgment, a moving party like the insurance company is required to demonstrate that no material issue of fact exists and the party is entitled to judgment as a matter of law. The trial court granted the insurance company’s motion for summary judgment and the injured parties appealed the case to Florida’s Fifth District.

On appeal, the court reversed the trial court’s decision by stating the evidence offered by the volunteer suggested he was acting as part of a larger activity than the cemetery clean-up when the collision took place. Additionally, the injured volunteer offered testimony that before and after photos are required in order to complete an approved Eagle Scout project. The man also stated he would have developed the film and provided it to the Scout for his project notebook but for the motor vehicle collision. Because genuine issues of material fact existed in the case, the Court of Appeals reversed the decision of the trial court and remanded the case for a trial on the merits.

If you were injured in a car accident that was caused by another person’s negligent act, please call the experienced attorneys at Friedman, Rodman & Frank, P.A. today at (305) 448-8585. You may also contact our skilled legal advocates through our website.

Additional Resources:

Hubner v. Old Republic Insurance Co., Fla: Dist. Court of Appeals, 5th Dist. 2014

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