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Prudential Property & Casualty Ins. Co. v. Continental Insurance Co.

Decided: May 18, 1989.

PRUDENTIAL PROPERTY & CASUALTY INS. CO., PLAINTIFF-RESPONDENT,
v.
CONTINENTAL INSURANCE COMPANY, DEFENDANT-APPELLANT, AND RONALD A. RUSSELL, JR., DEFENDANT-RESPONDENT



On appeal from the Superior Court, Law Division, Burlington County.

King, Brody and Ashbey. The opinion of the court was delivered by Ashbey, J.A.D.

Ashbey

This case involves a question of insurance "stacking." Riverside Township Police Officer Ronald A. Russell, Jr. was involved in an automobile accident while driving a police car. He sought uninsured (UM) motorist benefits from the Continental Insurance Company (Continental), insurer of the fleet of vehicles owned by Riverside Township (Township), and from Prudential Property and Casualty Insurance Company (Prudential), insurer of his personal automobile. Prudential instituted a declaratory judgment action against Continental, contending that Continental's combined UM limit for the fleet must be paid by Continental before applying Prudential's UM policy limit.*fn1 Continental conceded primary liability for the UM coverage of the individual car driven by Officer Russell ($15,000), but resisted applying the combined limit of $120,000. On cross-motions for summary judgment, judgment was granted to Prudential and denied to Continental. Continental appeals and we reverse.

The accident occurred on March 17, 1983, prior to the January 1, 1984 legislation which amended N.J.S.A. 17:28-1.1 to prohibit stacking of UM coverage.

The Continental policy provided that the municipality was the named insured and that it was entitled to UM insurance for

each of eight vehicles. These were separately listed with a UM limit of 15/30/5 and a per-vehicle premium of varying amounts assigned. The policy said,

II. PERSONS INSURED

Each of the following is an insured under this insurance to the extent set forth below:

(a) the named insured and any designated insured and, while residents of the same household, the spouse and relatives of either;

(b) any other person while occupying an an insured highway vehicle; and

(c) any person, with respect to damages he is entitled to recover because of bodily injury to which this insurance applies sustained by an insured under (a) or (b) above.

The insurance applies separately with respect to each insured, except with respect to the limits ...


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