Truck Used as a Mobile Gym Not an Uninsured Auto under Policy
Nov 21, 2019 in Case Law Updates by bronsteincarmona
In Natalie S. Deutsch v. GEICO General Insurance Company, Fla. L. Weekly D2639, Case No. 4D18-2714 (Fla. 4th DCA 2019), the Fourth District affirmed the trial court’s ruling that a mobile gym operating out of the back of a parked truck is not considered an uninsured/underinsured auto under plaintiff’s auto insurance policy.
Natalie Deutsch trained with Garrett Nodell, who owned Mobile Fitness Centers of America, Inc., a mobile gym operating out of the back of Nodell’s Isuzu pickup truck. Nodell outfitted his truck with gym equipment bolted to its floor and drove to his client’s locations for personal training sessions. Deutsch trained with Nodell several years on location at Deutsch’s home. During their sessions, Nodell’s truck was parked and plugged in to Deutsch’s home’s electricity, and workouts were never conducted while Nodell’s truck was in motion.
Deutsch sued and settled claims against Nodell and Mobile Fitness Centers for alleged injuries she sustained while working out with Nodell. Deutsch also sued her auto insurance carrier, GEICO General Insurance Company (GEICO), for uninsured motorist benefits arguing that her auto policy covered her injuries because they arose out of the “ownership, maintenance, or use” of a vehicle. However, GEICO contended that Nodell’s mobile gym was excluded from coverage as “a land motor vehicle . . . located for use as a residence or premises.” Both parties moved for summary judgment and the trial court ruled in favor GEICO, holding 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 this case.
On appeal, the Fourth DCA affirmed the trial court’s ruling and held that “the mobile gym was not an uninsured auto under the policy because it was located for use as a premises.” In reaching its decision, the Court considered the undisputed facts of the case, which established that the truck was parked and connected to a power source during workout sessions, and that the stationary truck was “located for use as a building, just as any gym in a strip mall,” as well as GEICO’s policy language, which “clearly and unequivocally provides that a vehicle “located for use as a . . . premises” is not an “uninsured auto” within the meaning of the policy.”