California Court of Appeals, Third District, Sacramento
Super. Ct. No. 34201000083168CUICGDS.
[Copyrighted Material Omitted]
Selman Breitman, Alan B. Yuter and Rachel E. Hobbs for Plaintiff and Appellant.
Yocis & Cox and Stephen M. Smith for Defendant and Respondent.
In this insurance coverage action, plaintiff Scottsdale Indemnity Company (Scottsdale) and defendant National Continental Insurance Company (NCI) seek this court’s determination whether they are coprimary insurers or whether NCI is an excess insurer for an underlying fatality involving a tractor/trailer rig operated by Manuel S. Lainez. The trial court granted NCI’s motion for a summary judgment, concluding that Scottsdale was the primary insurer pursuant to California Insurance Code section 11580.9, subdivisions
(d) and (h). We agree that Scottsdale is the primary insurer and NCI is the excess insurer and affirm the judgment.
By January of 2007 Manuel Lainez had been independently driving commercial vehicles for eight and one-half years. He owned his own truck, also known as a power unit or tractor, and his own business, Lainez Trucking. He had his own motor carrier permit and operating authority in the state of California. He purchased a trucker’s liability policy from Scottsdale with a $1 million liability limit. The policy specifically described and rated a 1999 Freightliner tractor Lainez had purchased about three years earlier and expressly covered any attached trailer.
Lainz entered into a motor carrier agreement with Western Transportation Services (Western Transport), a nonasset-based corporation that contracts exclusively with owner/operators and arranges for them to pick up and deliver loads to various customers in California and Nevada. It does not own tractors or trailers, but contracts with owner/operators or drivers. The agreement provided that Lainez was an independent contractor and was responsible for all costs and expenses incidental to the ...