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Deutsch v. Geico General Insurance Co.

Florida Court of Appeals, Fourth District

October 30, 2019

NATALIE S. DEUTSCH, Appellant,
v.
GEICO GENERAL INSURANCE COMPANY, Appellee.

         Not final until disposition of timely filed motion for rehearing.

          Appeal from the Circuit Court for the Fifteenth Judicial Circuit, Palm Beach County; James Nutt and Cymonie Rowe, Judges; L.T. Case No. 50-2014-CA-013774-XXXX-MB.

          Philip M. Burlington and Nichole J. Segal of Burlington & Rockenbach, P.A., West Palm Beach, Roberta M. Deutsch of Roberta M. Deutsch, LLC, Boca Raton, and Stuart F. Cohen of Conroy Simberg Ganon Krevans & Abel PA, Hollywood, for appellant.

          Sharon C. Degnan of Kubicki Draper, Orlando, for appellee.

          GROSS, J.

         The defendants in the circuit court operated a mobile gym out of the back of a truck. The plaintiff sued them for injuries she suffered while training in the back of the truck. The issue presented is whether the plaintiff may recover uninsured motorist benefits under her policy with Geico General Insurance Company. We hold that there is no coverage for her loss and affirm the final judgment in favor of Geico.

         Facts

         Garrett Nodell owns and operates Mobile Fitness Centers of America, Inc., a mobile gym that operates out of the back of an Isuzu truck. To train his clients, Nodell drives the gym to a client's location and conducts workouts in the back of the truck. The gym is equipped with exercise machines and equipment, some of which are bolted to the floor of the truck. The gym is powered by either a generator or by Nodell plugging into the client's electricity.

         For several years, Natalie Deutsch trained with Nodell. Her training sessions took place in the back of the truck while it was parked near her home and plugged into her home's electricity. According to the complaint, as a result of Nodell's negligence during training, Deutsch suffered permanent injuries.

         Deutsch sued Nodell and Mobile Fitness Centers and those suits were settled. She also sued Geico, her auto insurance carrier, contending that the mobile gym was an uninsured/underinsured auto under her policy.

         The relevant policy language providing coverage states that Geico will pay damages for bodily injury caused by an accident which the insured is legally entitled to recover from the owner or operator of "an uninsured auto arising out of the ownership, maintenance or use of that auto." The term "uninsured auto," however, does not include "a land motor vehicle . . . located for use as a residence or premises . . . ."

         Both parties moved for summary judgment on the coverage issue.

         Following a hearing, the circuit court granted Geico's motion and denied Deutsch's motion. The court found that the "uninsured policy provisions clearly and unambiguously define what an uninsured auto is and is not," and that the "unambiguous policy provisions clearly exclude coverage in the instant case." Ultimately, the circuit court entered final judgment in favor of Geico.

         The Mobile Gym Was Not An Uninsured Auto Under The Policy Because It ...


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