Defendant insured appealed from a decision of the Superior Court of Los Angeles County (California) granting summary judgment to plaintiff insurer. Defendant argued that it was error to grant summary judgment because there was a triable issue of material fact as to whether he was entitled to coverage for the loss of his stolen vehicle.

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Overview

Defendant’s truck, insured by plaintiff under two policies, was stolen. Plaintiff covered the loss, but learned that a month before the theft, defendant transferred the truck’s title to his already deceased father. Plaintiff sought to determine coverage and to recapture money already paid, arguing that because defendant “transferred” title, he no longer owned the vehicle within the meaning of the policies and therefore was not entitled to coverage. Plaintiff was granted summary judgment and defendant appealed. The appellate court found that it was error to conclude that defendant no longer possessed an insurable interest in the truck because he purportedly transferred title to his deceased father because an inter vivos transfer to a dead person could not, and did not, transfer title. Because of that legal conclusion and other relevant facts, neither policy defined “owned,” the stolen truck was the insured vehicle, and defendant retained exclusive possession and continued to use the truck after he “transferred” title to his father, a triable issue of material fact existed as to whether defendant was entitled to coverage.

Outcome

The grant of summary judgment was reversed.