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Appellate Court Upholds Insurer’s Right to Deny Coverage Based on CGL Exclusion

Case Study

Appellate Court Upholds Insurer’s Right to Deny Coverage Based on CGL Exclusion

September 9, 2016
Jonathan Schapp

After winning summary judgment for a major insurer in a coverage dispute, where the trial court held the insurer properly denied coverage for a negligence claim brought against a bar and its owner, Goldberg Segalla’s Global Insurance Services Practice Group also defeated the plaintiff insured’s appeal of the decision. Matthew R. Shindell and Jonathan Schapp, partners in the firm’s Philadelphia and Buffalo offices, teamed up to defend the insurer in this matter.

The victory upheld the insurer’s right to deny coverage of bodily injury claims brought against the insured following a shooting outside the bar, based on an assault and battery exclusion in the bar’s commercial general liability (CGL) policy. This case involved the important issue of the impact, if any, of negligence allegations in the underlying complaint that sought to take the claim outside the scope of the exclusion.

The Pennsylvania Superior Court agreed with our arguments that the clear and unambiguous language of the assault and battery exclusion precluded coverage, even assuming the insured had breached its duty to the plaintiff in the underlying complaint.

The opinion, which creates favorable caselaw for insurers, was profiled in the FC&S Daily Legal Report (subscription required), which publishes analysis and commentary on the “most significant insurance coverage law decisions from courts across the country.”