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Cottingham & Butler, Inc. v. Belu

Court of Appeals of Georgia

July 1, 2015

COTTINGHAM & BUTLER, INC. et al.
v.
BELU et al

Cert. applied for.

Insurance, failure to procure. Carroll Superior Court. Before Judge Baldwin.

McMickle, Kurey & Branch, Scott W. McMickle, Stephanie F. Brown, for appellants.

Jack F. Witcher, Daniel B. Greenfield, for appellees.

BOGGS, Judge. Ray and McMillian, JJ., concur.

OPINION

Page 748

Boggs, Judge.

Aron and Lidia Belu, d/b/a Express Auto Transport, sued their insurance agents, Cottingham & Butler, Inc. and Cottingham & Butler Insurance Services, Inc. (collectively, " C& B" ), for negligence and breach of contract in connection with their purchase of an insurance policy. C& B subsequently moved for summary judgment. The trial court denied the motion, and we granted C& B's application for interlocutory review. For reasons that follow, we affirm.

[332 Ga.App. 685] Summary judgment is appropriate when no genuine issues of material fact remain and the moving party is entitled to judgment as a matter of law. See Rogers & Sons v. Santee Risk Managers, 279 Ga.App. 621, 622 (631 S.E.2d 821) (2006). On appeal, we review a

Page 749

trial court's summary judgment ruling de novo, construing the evidence and all reasonable inferences in the light most favorable to the nonmovant. See id.

So viewed, the evidence shows that the Belus emigrated to the United States from Romania in 1986. Once in America, they obtained commercial driver's licenses, bought a truck, and began driving for various companies. In 2002, the Belus formed their own truck driving business, Express Auto Transport (" Express Auto" ), with Mr. Belu and Mrs. Belu's brother driving the trucks, and Mrs. Belu handling office duties.

At some point, Mrs. Belu called C& B and " asked them to sell [her] all the coverage" that she and her husband needed to protect their business. She told C& B that they " wanted a policy which covers everything, the trucks, the cars, the cargo ... physical damage, liability, general liability, everything." Mrs. Belu, however, did not request particular coverage because she was not an expert. Instead, C& B's representative told her what she needed, and she purchased the recommended coverage. According to Mrs. Belu:

When we were getting our insurance, [the C& B representative] would ask me " What kind of business you do?" and then tell me " You need this, and this, and this, and then you are covered, don't worry." He would tell me ...

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