Cases of Note

Tata v. Nichols, 848 S.W.2d 649 (Tenn. 1993)

January 11th, 1993

OVERVIEW: The injured claimant was crushed between the owners' vehicles when he was attempting to jump-start a disabled vehicle. The claimant attempted to recover for his injuries under the uninsured motorist provision of the owners' policies. The trial court and the court of appeals granted summary judgment after finding that the claimant was not "upon" either vehicle at the time of his injury. The court disagreed and held that controlling precedent demonstrated that the term "upon" had no precise meaning except in the context of particular facts. The court noted that the claimant had not severed his relationship with one owner's vehicle, which was being used to jump-start another owner's vehicle. The court also noted that the claimant was in very close geographic and spatial proximity to both vehicles, and he was directly engaged in activities involving both vehicles. The court found that the factual circumstances constituted the location or position described by "upon," and that the claimant's relationship with each vehicle was within the policy definition of occupying. Therefore, the court held that the claimant was an insured under both owners' insurance policies.

OUTCOME: The decisions of the court of appeals was reversed, and judgment was entered granting the claimant's motion for summary judgment. (Click here for opinion)

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