PARTIN et al.
GEORGIA FARM BUREAU MUTUAL INSURANCE COMPANY
Reconsideration denied April 10, 2015.
Farm insurance. Toombs Superior Court. Before Judge Palmer.
Goodman McGuffey Lindsey & Johnson, Adam C. Joffe, Sean B. Cox, Kaufold & Everett, Howard C. Kaufold, Jr., Jones, Boykin & Associates, Noble L. Boykin, Jr., for appellants.
Brennan, Harris & Rominger, G. Mason White, James D. Kreyenbuhl, for appellee.
MCFADDEN, Judge. Andrews, P. J., and Ray, J., concur in judgment only.
Georgia Farm Bureau Mutual Insurance Company filed a declaratory judgment action seeking a determination of its obligations under a farm package insurance policy it had issued to Kendall Partin. The trial court
granted summary judgment to Georgia Farm Bureau, concluding that the motor vehicle exclusion in the farm policy applied to preclude coverage to Partin for claims asserted against him by Allen Hamilton for injuries Hamilton's granddaughter sustained while driving a four-wheeled all terrain vehicle owned by Partin. Contrary to the trial court, we hold that a jury would be authorized to find that the vehicle was " mobile equipment" as defined by the policy; that a jury would also be authorized to find that the vehicle was a " farm implement" as that term is used in and contemplated by the policy; and consequently that the trial court erred in granting summary judgment on the basis that the policy's motor vehicle exclusion is applicable, as a matter of law, to the claims asserted against Partin.
1. The injury.
On appeal from the grant or denial of summary judgment, we conduct a de novo review of the evidence to determine whether there is a genuine issue of material fact, and whether the undisputed facts, viewed in the light most favorable to the nonmoving party, warrant judgment as a matter of law. Johnson v. Bartley, 321 Ga.App. 59, 59-60 (741 S.E.2d 275) (2013).
[331 Ga.App. 898] Viewed in the light most favorable to Partin, the evidence shows that Partin owns an approximately 100-acre farm where he lives and runs his cattle business. In 2005, he bought a used Polaris Ranger all-terrain vehicle for use on the farm to " [f]eed cows, check on cows, ride fences, make sure they weren't down." Partin used the vehicle every day, and once a week, he drove it to his brother's farm either by going through the woods or by driving on a county dirt road. The vehicle was designed to be used off road and the only roads that Partin drove it on were dirt roads.
In June 2009, Partin's girlfriend was living with him on the farm, and her daughter Chelsea often stayed with them on the weekends. Partin allowed Chelsea to drive the vehicle if she asked him for permission first. On June 11, Chelsea and Hamilton's granddaughter, who were both 14 years old at the time, asked Partin if they could ride the vehicle, but he told them " no" because he was not going to be at home. He put the keys to the vehicle in a kitchen drawer before leaving for the store. The girls apparently found the keys and took the vehicle out, taking turns driving it. While Hamilton's granddaughter was driving the vehicle around a curve on a dirt road, she hit a pile of dirt, lost control, and was thrown out. As a result, she suffered severe injuries to both feet.
2. The claim and the denial of that claim.
Hamilton, individually and on behalf of his granddaughter, filed a negligence action against Partin and his girlfriend for allowing Hamilton's granddaughter to operate the vehicle without Hamilton's permission, without a license, and without providing adequate training or supervision. General Casualty was a party to the action as Hamilton's personal auto insurer. Demand was made upon Georgia Farm Bureau to defend the lawsuit against Partin and to pay damages sought by Hamilton and ...