In March 1990, a personal injury lawsuit following a car accident was filed against the appellant Valentine Fetisoff. The insurance company GEICO (GEICO), which insured Fetisoff, later filed a declaratory judgment action before the District Court, with the objective of obtaining a determination of its liability under the insurance policy it had issued to Fetisoff. The issue that divided GEICO and Fetisoff was the correct interpretation of the policy's limitation of liability provision; GEICO held that the so-called individual limitation was applicable to the underlying tort action, while Fetisoff believed that the greater the limitation applicable to each case. In the appeal, GEICO argues that the language of the relevant policy provision is unambiguous and that, according to the simple language of the provision, each person's limitation controls GEICO's liability with respect to the underlying tort litigation.
Fetisoff responds that the District Court rightly found that there was real ambiguity in the language of the policy. We begin by considering what state law applies in this case and then proceed to address the substance of the parties' allegations. We conclude that, under District of Columbia law, which governs this dispute, the limitation of liability provision is unambiguous and the limitation for each person applies to Mr. In this case, Fetisoff admits that only one person, Linda Whitney, suffered bodily injuries in the car collision.
Whitney's claim for the loss of the consortium constitutes a separate bodily injury, the criteria of two or more people are not met, and the limitation cannot be applied on a case-by-case basis. We concluded that the loss of the consortium is not a bodily injury. The policy itself excludes such a point of view by defining bodily injuries as bodily injuries, ailments or ailments, including death resulting therefrom, id. In 7; this definition clearly excludes consortium-type losses.
In addition, while there does not appear to be any case in the District of Columbia in this regard, courts in other jurisdictions have adamantly rejected the idea that the loss of the consortium is a bodily injury. See, for example,. Skolnik, 44 Ohio St, 3d 11, 540 N, E, 2nd 716, 719-20 (198). Therefore, even though the language of the policy clearly includes Mr.
Whitney's claim for loss of consortium, within the limit per person, just as clearly excludes the claim from the scope of the limitation on a case-by-case basis. Fetisoff presents three arguments in support of his claim that the per-person limitation does not apply to Mr. Whitney's claim for loss of the consortium; but none of these arguments seem convincing to us. First of all, Fetisoff points to the text of the policy that states that the limitation per person includes all damages.
It comes from a bodily injury suffered by a person. GEICO policy at age 15 (emphasis added). Whitney's claim for loss of the consortium cannot be considered to be due to Mrs. Whitney's injuries are because District of Columbia law treats the loss of the consortium as a separate tort for the uninjured spouse and not as a derivative claim.
While Fetisoff's characterization of District of Columbia law seems correct, his argument regarding the meaning of insurance policy is a non sequitur. As we noted at Smither Co. Co. Foster, 345 F, 2d, 772, 776 (4th Cir.
However, there is no choice of law problem because the Maryland and Virginia consortium law is less favorable to Fetisoff emerging from the argument than the law of the District of Columbia. Therefore, the law of the relevant jurisdictions is no different, see Eli Lilly & Co. The law in each of these jurisdictions is the same with respect to the interpretation of insurance contracts in all three, the clear meaning of the policy, the controlling language, and any ambiguities are resolved in favor of the insured. When this notification occurs, the DC DMV sends the vehicle owner an insurance verification notice so that the owner can submit proof of insurance, such as coverage with a different insurer.
While the jurisdictional allegations of the amended lawsuit were unclear, the lawsuit seemed to claim that GEICO is a District of Columbia corporation; it continued to state, with good reason, that the Whitneys are also citizens of the District. At age 7 (The insurance company must have the responsibility to write insurance policies in language that ordinary people can understand). As negotiations progressed to reach a settlement in the underlying tort action, a dispute developed between GEICO and the Fetisoffs over the meaning of the language contained in the limitation of liability provision of the GEICO policy. Applying District of Columbia law, the trial court concluded that the limitation of liability provision of the GEICO policy contained real ambiguity, although no precise ambiguities were identified.
Since there is no conflict when the law of Maryland, Virginia and the District of Columbia “is the same with respect to the interpretation of insurance contracts in all three,” the clear meaning of the policy, the language controls and any ambiguities are resolved in favor of the insured. .