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Click here for the full text of this decision FACTS: Terry Hamby’s car was damaged in an accident. His insurer, State Farm Mutual Auto Insurance, decided it would “total” the car instead of repair it. State Farm told Hamby it would pay him the actual cash value of the car, $25,970.75, when Hamby assigned title of the car to State Farm. Hamby initially resisted, but then he did so under protest. Hamby filed suit on behalf of himself and others similarly situated, saying State Farm breached the insurance contract by forcing insureds to transfer title to a totaled vehicle as a condition of paying the actual cash value. The trial court granted State Farm’s special exceptions. Hamby amended his petition, State Farm again filed special exceptions, and the trial court again granted them. The trial court concluded that the factual allegations in Hamby’s petition did not sufficiently allege a cause of action, and so dismissed the case. HOLDING: Affirmed. The court agrees with Hamby that the pleadings indicate that a breach of contract is the cause of action, but looking at Hamby’s auto insurance policy, determines that the facts alleged do not comprise a claim for breach of contract. The “Limit of Liability” clause allows State Farm to choose the lesser of the actual cash value, the amount necessary to repair or replace, or the amount stated in the policy’s declarations. The court rejects Hamby’s contention that the “Limit of Liability” clause does not address assigning title in exchange for benefits. Instead, the court relies on the “Payment of Loss” provision, which states, “We may pay for loss in money or repair or replace the damaged or stolen property. We may, at our expense, return any stolen property t 1. You; or 2. The address shown in this policy[.] If we return stolen property we will pay for any damage resulting from the theft. We may keep all or part of the property at an agreed or appraised value.” The court, relying on a case from Rhode Island, holds that “it is not reasonable to conclude that, because the next-to-last sentence mentions only stolen cars, the last sentence only applies to stolen cars.” The court rules as a matter of law that the provision taken as a whole, and the last sentence in particular, apply to both stolen and damaged cars. OPINION: Keyes, J.; Nuchia, Jennings and Keyes, JJ.

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