from Montgomery Circuit Court (CV-17-901212)
January 2017, Lester Beeman was injured in an automobile
accident. At the time of the accident, Beeman was driving an
automobile insured under a policy of insurance ("the
policy") purchased by Renada Reese from ACCC Insurance
Company ("the insurer"). The operator of the other
automobile involved in the accident, Kimberly LaChance, was
August 2017, Beeman sued LaChance in the Montgomery Circuit
Court ("the trial court"), asserting, among other
things, claims alleging negligence and wantonness. Beeman
amended his complaint in October 2017 to seek an award of
uninsured-motorist ("UIM") benefits from the
insurer. The insurer moved to dismiss Beeman's
claim against it pursuant to Rule 12(b)(6), Ala. R. Civ. P.,
arguing that Reese was the "named insured" in the
policy and that she had rejected UIM coverage, as permitted
by Ala. Code 1975, 32-7-23(a), which reads as follows:
"No automobile liability or motor vehicle liability
policy insuring against loss resulting from liability imposed
by law for bodily injury or death suffered by any person
arising out of the ownership, maintenance, or use of a motor
vehicle shall be delivered or issued for delivery in this
state with respect to any motor vehicle registered or
principally garaged in this state unless coverage is provided
therein or supplemental thereto, in limits for bodily injury
or death set forth in subsection (c) of Section 32-7-6, [Ala.
Code 1975, ] under provisions approved by the Commissioner of
Insurance for the protection of persons insured thereunder
who are legally entitled to recover damages from owners or
operators of uninsured motor vehicles because of bodily
injury, sickness or disease, including death, resulting
therefrom; provided, that the named insured shall have the
right to reject such coverage; and provided further, that
unless the named insured requests such coverage in writing,
such coverage need not be provided in or supplemental to a
renewal policy where the named insured had rejected the
coverage in connection with the policy previously issued to
him or her by the same insurer."
hearing on the insurer's motion, the trial court granted
the motion and dismissed the claim against the insurer. The
case proceeded to trial against LaChance, who failed to
appear at trial, and the trial court entered a default
judgment against her on August 13, 2018. Beeman timely
appealed and argues solely that the trial court erred in
dismissing his claim against the insurer for UIM benefits. We
"On appeal, a dismissal is not entitled to a presumption
of correctness. Jones v. Lee County Commission, 394
So.2d 928, 930 (Ala. 1981); Allen v. Johnny Baker
Hauling, Inc., 545 So.2d 771, 772 (Ala. Civ. App. 1989).
The appropriate standard of review under Rule 12(b)(6) is
whether, when the allegations of the complaint are viewed
most strongly in the pleader's favor, it appears that the
pleader could prove any set of circumstances that would
entitle her to relief. Raley v. Citibanc of
Alabama/Andalusia, 474 So.2d 640, 641 (Ala. 1985);
Hill v. Falletta, 589 So.2d 746 (Ala. Civ. App.
1991). In making this determination, this Court does not
consider whether the plaintiff will ultimately prevail, but
only whether she may possibly prevail. Fontenot v.
Bramlett, 470 So.2d 669, 671 (Ala. 1985); Rice v.
United Ins. Co. of America, 465 So.2d 1100, 1101 (Ala.
1984). We note that a Rule 12(b)(6) dismissal is proper only
when it appears beyond doubt that the plaintiff can prove no
set of facts in support of the claim that would entitle the
plaintiff to relief. Garrett v. Hadden, 495 So.2d
616, 617 (Ala. 1986); Hill v. Kraft, Inc., 496 So.2d
768, 769 (Ala. 1986)."
Nance v. Matthews, 622 So.2d 297, 299 (Ala. 1993).
this appeal involves the meaning of terms in an insurance
policy, we begin by noting the general rules governing our
construction of insurance policies.
"'General rules of contract law govern an insurance
contract. Twin City Fire Ins. Co. v. Alfa Mut. Ins.
Co., 817 So.2d 687, 691 (Ala. 2001). The court must
enforce the insurance policy as written if the terms are
unambiguous, id.; Liggans R.V. Ctr. v. John
Deere Ins. Co., 575 So.2d 567, 569 (Ala. 1991). Whether
a provision of an insurance policy is ambiguous is a question
of law. Turvin v. Alfa Mut. Gen. Ins. Co., 774 So.2d
597, 599 (Ala. Civ. App. 2000).'
"Safeway Ins. Co. of Alabama, Inc. v. Herrera,
912 So.2d 1140, 1143 (Ala. 2005). Furthermore, '[t]he
identity of the insured and liability of the insurer are
determined from the terms of the [insurance] contract.'
Kinnon v. Universal Underwriters Ins. Co., 418 So.2d
887, 888 (Ala. 1982)."
Safeway Ins. Co. of Alabama, Inc. v. Thomas, [Ms.
2170088, March 30, 2018] ___ So.3d ___, ___ (Ala. Civ. App.
policy documents appear in the record. The initial
application for insurance, which was executed in June 2013,
indicates that Reese is the sole applicant; in the initial
application, Reese specifically rejected UIM
coverage. The renewal certificate for the period
from January 2017 to July 2017 indicates that the
"policyholder" is Reese. Nothing in the initial
application, the renewal certificate, or the policy defines
the term "named insured" or indicates specifically
that Reese is the "named insured" under the
policy. Moreover, neither the initial application,
which does not list Beeman at all, nor the renewal
certificate indicate that Beeman is a "named
insured." The renewal certificate reflects that Beeman
is listed on the declarations page as a "driver."
He is an "insured person" under the policy because
he is Reese's son, living in her household, and endorsed
on the policy.
argues on appeal, as he did below, that he is a "named
insured" on the policy and that, therefore, Reese's
rejection of UIM coverage is not binding on him. Indeed, our
caselaw makes clear that each named insured must reject UIM
coverage for himself or herself. See Nationwide Ins. Co.
v. Nicholas, 868 So.2d 457 (Ala. Civ. App. 2003)
(plurality opinion); State Farm Mut. Auto. Ins. Co. v.
Martin, 292 Ala. 103, 289 So.2d 606 (1974). However,
those cases do not assist us in determining whether Beeman
was, in fact, a "named insured," because in both
Nicholas and Martin the evidence
demonstrated that the plaintiffs ...