Lancer Ins. Co. v. Garcia Holiday Tours,
No. 10-0096 (Tex. Jul. 1, 2011)(Opinion by Justice David Medina) (insurance coverage, indemnification, liability
for communication of disease by bus driver to passenger)(issue of first impression)
THE GIST: The question in this appeal is whether the transmission of a communicable disease from
the driver of a motor vehicle to a passenger is a covered loss under a business auto policy, which
affords coverage for accidental bodily injuries resulting from the vehicle’s use. The issue is one of first
impression in this state and perhaps the country. The parties advise that they have found no similar
The trial court concluded that the policy covered this type of occurrence and rendered summary
judgment that the insurance carrier owed a duty to indemnify the insured. The court of appeals agreed
that the policy might provide coverage for such a claim but reversed the summary judgment and
remanded the case to the trial court to resolve a factual dispute about whether the passengers had
contracted the disease while in the vehicle. 308 S.W.3d 35, 47 (Tex. App.—San Antonio 2009).
Because we conclude that communicable diseases are not an insured risk under this particular policy,
we reverse the judgment below and render judgment for the insurance carrier.
Conclusion: We conclude that the transmission of a communicable disease from a bus driver to his
passengers was not a risk assumed by the insurance carrier under this business auto policy because
the passengers’ injuries did not result from the vehicle’s use but rather from the bus company’s use of
an unhealthy driver. The bus, itself, in its capacity as a mode of transportation, did not produce, and
was not a substantial factor in producing, the passengers’ injuries. The court of appeals’ judgment is
accordingly reversed and judgment rendered that the passengers, bus company, and driver take
nothing on their indemnity claim against the insurance carrier.
CASE DETAILS: LANCER INSURANCE COMPANY v. GARCIA HOLIDAY TOURS, ET AL.; from Jim Wells
County; 4th district (04-08-00839-CV, 308 SW3d 35, 12-23-09)
The Court reverses the court of appeals' judgment and renders judgment.
Justice David Medina delivered the opinion of the Court. [pdf]
Here is the link to e-briefs in case no. 10-0096 LANCER INS. CO. v. GARCIA HOLIDAY TOURS [including an
amicus brief by Property Casualty Insurers Association of America]
DOCKET DB DETAILS FOR THIS CASE: No. 10-0096
Lancer Insurance Co. v. Garcia Holiday Tours (Tex. 2011)(Justice Medina)
TEXT OF OPINION [ coming soon ] or got court's website by clicking on the cause number above.
Also see: Texas Causes of Action | 2011 Texas Supreme Court Opinions | 2011 Tex Sup Ct Per Curiams