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Rodemich v. State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Company

 Court of Appeals of Arizona
637 P.2d 748 (1981)


Facts

Mr. and Mrs. Rodemich (plaintiffs) owned a Winnebago motorhome. Mr. Rodemich was driving the Winnebago when he swerved in order to avoid an animal in the road. The Winnebago went off the road and was damaged. The motor home was insured through a policy with State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Company (State Farm) (defendant). Although the Winnebago had previously been covered by both a collision policy and comprehensive coverage, at the time of the accident, the Rodemichs had allowed the collision policy to lapse. The comprehensive coverage excluded coverage for collision but covered “colliding” between the vehicle and an animal. “Colliding,” as defined in the comprehensive-coverage policy included the collision of the motor vehicle with another object and an “upset” of the motor vehicle. The Rodemichs filed a claim for damages with State Farm under the comprehensive-coverage policy. State Farm refused to cover all of the damages but did cover glass breakage. The Rodemichs sued State Farm seeking damages for the Winnebago. At trial, after the Rodemichs rested their case, State Farm moved for a directed verdict. State Farm claimed that, since the Winnebago had not come into contact with an animal, the accident was not covered by the comprehensive-coverage policy. The judge denied State Farm’s motion. At the end of the trial, the Rodemichs moved for a directed verdict on the coverage issue. The trial court judge granted this motion and determined that swerving to avoid an animal was covered under the comprehensive coverage. The only factual question remaining was whether an animal was present at the time of the accident. This question went to the jury. The jury found in favor of the Rodemichs. State Farm filed a motion for a new trial and/or a judgment notwithstanding the verdict. State Farm’s motion was denied. State Farm appealed.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Eubank, J.)

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