Charles W. Coe, Law Office of Charles W. Coe, Anchorage, for Appellant.
No appearance by Appellees Anthony Stout and Tara Loraine Stout.
Cynthia L. Ducey, Delaney Wiles, Inc., Anchorage, for Appellee Credit Union 1.
Before: FABE, Chief Justice, WINFREE, STOWERS, MAASSEN, and BOLGER, Justices.
Garold Charles was in an accident while riding as a passenger in a vehicle belonging to Tara and Anthony Stout. Charles brought negligence claims against the Stouts and Credit Union 1, the lienholder on the Stouts' vehicle. Credit Union 1 moved for summary judgment. Charles opposed the motion, relying on testimony from Tara's deposition and contending in part that he was a third-party beneficiary of an alleged contract between Credit Union 1 and the Stouts by which the credit union agreed to provide liability insurance. The superior court struck Tara's testimony and granted summary judgment to Credit Union 1. Charles appeals. We affirm.
II. FACTS AND PROCEEDINGS
Garold Charles filed a complaint against Anthony Stout, Tara Loraine Stout, and Credit Union 1 seeking compensation for injuries he allegedly received in a 2008 rollover accident on the Tongass Highway. The Stouts were married but separated at the time of the accident and held joint title to the car. Charles's complaint alleged that he was riding as a passenger in the Stouts' vehicle and that Anthony was driving while intoxicated. It alleged that Anthony lost control, the vehicle rolled several times, and Anthony then fled the scene. The complaint alleged not only that Anthony was negligent in driving the car but also that Tara and Credit Union 1 both had ownership interests in the car and were liable for negligently entrusting it to Anthony. Anthony did not answer the complaint and was eventually defaulted, but Credit Union 1 and Tara both answered, Tara acting pro se.
Credit Union 1 moved for summary judgment, arguing that its only involvement with the car was as lender and lienholder, which by law is not a sufficient basis for liability. In response, Charles sought to depose Tara about the liability insurance she may have purchased from Credit Union 1 at the time she financed the vehicle.
Tara did not have counsel at her deposition. In response to questions by Charles's attorney, she testified that she thought she had contracted with Credit Union 1 for liability insurance in addition to loan financing. She testified that she switched from an insurance
company to Credit Union 1 because the credit union's insurance was " a lot cheaper [and] a lot more convenient." She testified that she thought she had " the minimum insurance," " the normal coverage of what would be [necessary in order to be] legal to drive." She also testified that when she changed her insurance over to Credit Union 1, the new insurance did not cover Anthony because the two of them " were separated completely" and Anthony was in jail. She testified that when Anthony later took possession of the vehicle, before the accident, she informed Credit Union 1 that she ...