The opinion of the court was delivered by: GASCH
The material facts are not in dispute. On August 14, 1982, defendant and plaintiff Leroy E. Johnson contracted for automobile liability insurance. The policy was in effect from August 14, 1983 to February 14, 1984 and provided coverage for certain cars and for certain family members, including Kimberly Ann Johnson, Leroy Johnson's daughter. On August 18, 1983, Leroy Johnson was mailed an "amendment of policy provision" which stated, in part:
In accordance with the requirements of the District of Columbia no-fault law, all policy coverages shall be suspended for you, or any family member, who operates any vehicle during any period when that person's driver's license is suspended or revoked.
During 1982 and 1983, Kimberly Ann Johnson was issued a number of traffic citations for violations of Maryland law. Ms. Johnson failed to contest those violations. Finally, on November 16, 1983, Ms. Johnson went to the District of Columbia Department of Motor Vehicles to obtain a duplicate of her license. There she was served with an Official Notice of Proposed Suspension of her District of Columbia operator's permit, and Ms. Johnson signed the notice to acknowledge her receipt of it. The notice stated, in pertinent part:
You are hereby notified that, unless you apply for a hearing . . . your District of Columbia motor vehicle operator's permit . . . is suspended effective five days . . . from the date of service of this notice and that thereafter it shall be unlawful for you to operate a motor vehicle in the District of Columbia.
Ms. Johnson was also orally advised that she had to pay $60 in unpaid Maryland traffic citations or face suspension of her license. Ms. Johnson then caused a third party to pay the $60 debt, and payment of that amount was received by the Administrative Clerk of the District Court of Maryland on November 25, 1983. Ms. Johnson did not request a hearing within the specified five-day period, however, and the suspension of her operator's permit became final on November 24, 1983. Ms. Johnson never sought appeal of that suspension.
On February 4, 1984, Ms. Johnson was driving a car covered by the insurance policy when, at a point near Bladensburg Road and Route 450 in Prince George's County, Maryland, her car struck and killed Maria Semciw, a pedestrian.
After the accident, Ms. Johnson learned that her operator's permit was suspended. On February 8, 1984, after paying an additional $60, her permit was reinstated. At no time between November 24, 1983 and February 4, 1984 was Ms. Johnson directly notified that her license was suspended or that, due to the suspension, she was not covered under the insurance policy.
On January 4, 1985, Maria Semciw's personal representative filed a wrongful death and survivorship action against Leroy and Kimberly Ann Johnson in the Circuit Court for Prince George's County, Maryland. Defendant has refused to defend the Johnsons in that action or to acknowledge that Kimberly Ann Johnson was covered by the policy at the time of the accident.
Resolution of this case requires this Court to set sail upon the "uncharted waters" of the District of Columbia no-fault law. See Rousey v. Rousey, 499 A.2d 1199, 1203 n.7 (D.C. App. ...