United States District Court, D. New Mexico
ALLSTATE FIRE and CASUALTY INSURANCE COMPANY, Plaintiff/Counter-Defendant,
BERNIE and MICHAEL TRISSELL, Defendants/Counter-Plaintiffs.
Jennifer A. Noya (Anna E. Indahl with her on the briefs),
Modrall, Sperling, Roehl, Harris & Sisk, P.A.,
Albuquerque, New Mexico for Plaintiff/Counter-Defendant.
G. Grayson, Grayson Law Office, LLC, Albuquerque, New Mexico,
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
Kelly, Jr. United States Circuit Judge.
MATTER comes on for consideration of
Plaintiff/Counter-Defendant Allstate's Motion for Summary
Judgment filed September 18, 2017, ECF No. 15, and
Defendants/Counter-Plaintiffs Bernie and Michael
Trissell's Motion for Summary Judgment filed September
18, 2017, ECF No. 16. Plaintiff Allstate filed this
declaratory judgment action urging that (1) the Trissells
selected non-stacked uninsured/underinsured (UM/UIM)
coverage, and their selection was valid under New Mexico law,
(2) the policy provides only non-stacked UM/UIM coverage of
$25, 000 per person and $50, 000 per accident, and (3)
Allstate has not acted in bad faith in so interpreting the
policy. Defendants filed a counterclaim for declaratory
judgment that Allstate failed to properly offer stacked
coverage and did not obtain a valid rejection of stacked
coverage. The Trissells seek reformation of the policy to
provide stacked UM/UIM coverage of $75, 000 per person and
$150, 000 per accident, and they also counterclaim for breach
of contract, violations of the Unfair Insurance Practices
Act, insurance bad faith, and punitive damages. ECF No. 6 at
6-11. The court will grant summary judgment in favor of
Allstate and deny the Trissells' motion for summary
judgment. Because the court concludes that Allstate's
decision on the Trissells' stacking claim was proper, the
court will enter judgment on the counterclaim in favor of
following facts are uncontroverted by the parties. On January
30, 2016, the Trissells were involved in auto accident when
they were struck by an intoxicated driver. ECF No. 15 at 2,
No. 1. The Trissells were insured under an Allstate policy
that insured three vehicles, including the one involved in
the accident. Id., UDF No. 2. Each vehicle carried
UM/UIM bodily injury insurance of $25, 000 per person, $50,
000 per accident. ECF No. 16 at 2, UDF No. 5. The Trissells
claim that as a result of the accident, their injuries are
greater than that available under the tortfeasor's policy
and that they should be allowed to stack their UM/UIM
benefits under the Allstate policy. ECF No. 15 at 3, UDF No.
5. The Trissells initialed a form indicating that they
selected non- stacked UM/UIM for bodily injury and
non-stacked UIM for property damage. Id., UDF No. 7.
That form provides in pertinent part:
select non-stacked Uninsured Motorists
Insurance for Bodily Injury and non-stacked
Uninsured Motorists Insurance for Property Damages at limits:
MDT (initials) equal to my Bodily Injury and
Property Damage Liability Insurance limits of $25,
000/$50, 000/$50, 000 for all vehicles on the
policy, for $121.66
Id. After signing the UM/UIM Selection/Rejection
Form in April 2015 and prior to the accident, the Trissells
never informed Allstate in writing that they wanted a change
in the UM/UIM selection. Id. at 4, UDF No. 9.
Trissells' position is that Allstate and its form are
noncompliant with New Mexico law regarding the selection and
rejection of UM/UIM coverage and stacking. ECF No. 19 at 3;
ECF No. 16 at 6-7. They contend that Allstate's form is
• It does not provide a menu list with the price of
UM/UIM coverage for each vehicle for the available level of
coverage on each vehicle.
• It does not show the available levels of stacked
coverage per vehicle with a corresponding price per vehicle.
• It does not contain a per-vehicle rejection of UM/UIM
on each vehicle.
16 at 3-4. The Trissells argue that these deficiencies mean
that they were not properly informed about the premium costs
corresponding to the available levels of coverage; thus, the
form and their rejection are invalid and the policy must be
reformed. Id. They also maintain that Allstate
failed to incorporate their rejection into ...