Secura Insurance judgment of $68,000.00 against its insured is upheld in part
Secura had insured a car owned by Delores Swingler-Reid, who live in Michigan. They allowed their daughter, Joy Tomas, to operate the car in Atlanta, Georgia, but did not report to Secura that it was being garaged at another location. In close succession in 2009 both women were hurt in car accidents, and Secura paid some PIP benefits. It then concluded that the daughter had been untruthful about the location where the car was maintained and how the George accident occurred. On that basis, it claimed that both insureds were guilty of fraud and sued to recover the benefits it had paid to both. It secured a summary judgment, without trial, of just under $70,000.00 against both.
The Court's grant of summary disposition to Secura was appealed. The higher court held that there was sufficient evidence of a material misrepresentation by the insureds to warrant rescission of the policy. It also rejected that argument that only one of the women could be held accountable for the misrepresentations, because both had testified that mother was in Georgia visiting with the insured car when daughter was hurt.
The Court also held that the statute governing cancellation of insurance policies does not apply in this situation. It did overturn the fee award to Secura, pointing out that the judge did not adequately explain any basis for holding the women jointly and severally responsible for all of the expenses Secura incurred.