Personal Injury / Automobile Accident
Motorcycle Driver Settles With Commercial Driver and Pursues Underinsured
Motorist Coverage Stacking Against State Farm
Total Value: $860,000
Breakdown: $750,000 from The Comfort Center and John Nattier on liability claim;
$110,000 from State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance on underinsured motorist coverage.
Verdict/Settlement Date: July 12, 2012
Type of Action: Motorcycle Accident
Court: Buchanan County Circuit Court
Caption: Danny Claycomb v. The Comfort Center, LLC and John Nattier
Judge: Randall Jackson
Injuries: Right arm/elbow fracture, left wrist fracture, biceps tendon injury,
rotator cuff tear, left hip fracture.
Attorney for Plaintiff: James Montee, Montee Law Firm, P.C. (St. Joseph, MO)
Attorneys for Defendant: Russell Walters, Timothy Wolf, Patrick Cody, Brown & James, P.C.
(St. Louis, MO) for defendants The Comfort Center and John Nattier; James
Sanders, Wallace, Saunders, Austin, Brown & Enochs (Kansas City, MO)
for State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Company
Insurance Companies: Farmers Insurance Group for defendants The Comfort Center and John Nattier;
State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Company for underinsured motorist coverage.
St. Joseph, Missouri auto accident attorney, James Montee has reached a
settlement on behalf of his client for injuries received in an Andrew
County, Missouri automobile accident.
On August 24, 2011, motorcyclist Danny Claycomb, age 58, suffered serious
injuries when he was struck by a Chevy van operated by a swimming pool
construction worker. Claycomb was riding his 1984 Moto Guzzi on Route
K in rural Andrew County when John Nattier, driving a 2005 Chevy Astro
van, made a left turn into the path of Claycomb. At the time of the accident,
Nattier was in the course and scope of his employment with The Comfort
Center, a swimming pool builder in St. Joseph, Missouri.
Claycomb suffered multiple fractures to his right arm, left wrist and hip.
Claycomb initially filed suit against Nattier and his employer in Andrew
County and upon a change of venue the case was moved to Buchanan County.
Claycomb settled for the $750,000 policy limits from the commercial policy
of Farmer's Insurance which provided coverage on The Comfort Center
Claycomb next proceeded to make claims against the underinsured motorist
policies covering his personally-owned motorcycles and other household
vehicles. At the time of his motorcycle accident, Claycomb's Moto
Guzzi motorcycle was covered by UIM limits of $25,000 from State Farm
Mutual Automobile Insurance Company. Claycomb also had five additional
policies issued by State Farm covering four separate automobiles (UIM
limits of $50,000 on two policies and $100,000 on two policies) and one
additional motorcycle policy with UIM limits of $25,000.
State Farm Insurance agreed to pay the UIM policy with the highest limits
of UIM liability coverage and advanced payment of $100,000. Claycomb continued
to argue for the stacking of the UIM coverage from the remaining policies.
State Farm denied the UIM stacking on the basis that their antistacking
provisions of UIM coverage have recently been upheld in
Buettner v. State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Company, 210 S.W.3d 363 (Mo. App. 2006);
Lee v. State Farm Mut. Auto Ins. Co., 2011 WL 5983370, 2 W.D. Mo. 2011;
Taylor v. State Farm Mutual Auto Ins. Co., 2012 WL 538960 (Mo. App. W.D. Feb. 21, 2012); and
Ballard v. State Farm Mutual Auto. Ins. Co., 2012 W.L. 1085489 (E.D. Mo. March 30, 2012). Claycomb attempted to distinguish
his claim by relying on the varying definitions of the term "motor
vehicle" in the automobile and motorcycle policies. The endorsement
for the motorcycle policies limited the term motor vehicle to vehicles
with only 2 or 3 wheels in tandem; the automobile policies defined motor
vehicle as a vehicle with a minimum of four wheels. Claycomb alleged this
created confusion and ambiguity which carried over to the anti-stacking
State Farm removed the coverage dispute to the U.S. District Court for
the Western District of Missouri. State Farm filed its motion for summary
judgment and, after mediation, State Farm and Claycomb agreed to settlement
for an additional payment of $10,000. Claycomb's combined recoveries
against Nattier, Comfort Center and State Farm totaled $860,000.