An injured person who had sued an insured but did not yet have a judgment against the insured was not an indispensable party in a declaratory action between the insurance company and the insured regarding coverage of the accident.
In Tennessee Farmers Mutual Insurance Company v. DeBruce, No. E2017-02078-SC-R11-CV (Tenn. Ct. App. Oct. 16, 209), Christina Wright (“claimant”) had been injured when her vehicle was rear-ended by a car driven by Brandon DeBruce (“insured”). The claimant sued the insured, but the insured failed to inform his insurance company of the suit, which was a requirement of his policy. According to the insurance company, the insured also failed to cooperate in the investigation of potential claims.
Based on his failure to cooperate, the insurance company filed a declaratory judgment action seeking a declaration that it “did not have to provide a defense to DeBruce in the personal injury suit or indemnify him for any damages awarded to Wright.” The claimant was not a party to this suit. The insured failed to respond to the complaint, and the trial court granted a default judgment declaring that the insurance company was not obligation to defend or indemnify the insured in connection with the accident.