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Summary Judgment Releases Insurer in Virginia Discrimination Case

Case Study

Summary Judgment Releases Insurer in Virginia Discrimination Case

May 30, 2018

One of the nation’s leading providers of excess and specialty insurance lines won summary judgment in Virginia state court in connection with a complaint of housing discrimination based on race and familial status.

In this case, the insured, a Virginia private community that owns and operates a recreational and campground area, was alleged to have rejected a prospective purchaser of a tract of land based on her race and familial status.  The Virginia Fair Housing Board brought a complaint on her behalf against the community, which tendered coverage for the suit to its insurer.

Partner Jonathan L. Schwartz and associate Colin B. Willmott of Chicago and associate Brandon D. Zeller of Greensboro, North Carolina, aided by local counsel E. Ford Stephens of Christian & Barton LLP in Richmond, successfully persuaded the court that the subject commercial general liability policy did not cover intentional discriminatory conduct. They obtained a favorable ruling on coverage under both Coverages A and B, thus extricating the insurer from a prolonged defense and potential indemnity liability.