Vincent v. AMCO

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Opinion Filed August 04, 2020
Attorney for the Case John Loftin
Amicus Brief Writers Shawn Howard Jay Trehy Jon Ward
Court 4th Circuit Court of Appeals
Docket No. 19-1401

NCAJ filed an amicus brief in the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals in support of a catastrophically injured small business owner. The Plaintiff suffered life changing injuries, including multiple broken bones, internal organ injuries, and a traumatic brain injury, when his motorcycle was struck by a negligent motorist.

The Plaintiff’s insurer, AMCO Insurance Company, denied him Underinsured Motorist (UIM) coverage under an automobile policy purchased by his small business, citing its other owned auto exclusion. On its face, the policy’s $1,000,000 of UIM coverage would not apply to his operation of the unlisted motorcycle. However, Judge Loretta Biggs of the Middle District agreed with the Plaintiff that the policy was required to conform to North Carolina’s Financial Responsibility Act (FRA) and provided $1,000,000 of UIM coverage to Plaintiff.

For its part, AMCO argued that the policy was not required to conform to the FRA, because, in its view, the policy was “applicable solely to fleet vehicles” and, therefore, subject to an exception to the FRA’s general mandate that policies provide UIM coverage equal to their liability limits. The amicus brief argues that Judge Biggs was correct and that policies such as the AMCO policy that are not “applicable solely to fleet vehicles” must provide UIM coverage equal to the policy’s bodily injury liability limits. Much of the 4th Circuit’s focus will be determining the precise meaning of the phrase “applicable solely to fleet vehicles.