Thursday, July 30, 2015

Hurt and sue: Insurance 'for Dummies'

Randy Maniloff's 5th annual Top 10 'dumb stuff' cases

Hurt and sue: Insurance 'for Dummies'


Insurance lawyer Randy Maniloff of White and Williams  (and the Coverage Opinions newsletter) posts his yearly list of 10 cases where "head-shaking and eye-rolling behavior... causes injury" and then lawsuits. Some highlights:

Sciolla v. West Bend (PA): "The Eastern District of Pennsylvania" [federal court] held that "unresolved issues" prevented the judges from a speedy summary judgement of whether a general liability insurer ought to cover 'bodily injury sustained by teachers when they were thrown off their donkeys while playing Donkey Ball in a middle school." It wasn't clear to the judges whether the teachers were playing the game (and thus, maybe, covered) or just riding donkeys for the heck of it (and therefore not covered.) 

Colon v. Liberty Mutual (NJ): "Insured bit a police officer upon being stopped in her automobile," and gave her name as "Beyonce Knowles." She wasn't. An appeals court found this "did not preclude coverage for damages" suffered by the cop, from the biter's homeowner's policy, even with an automobile exclusion.

Hay vs. Georgia Farm Bureau Mutual: An appeals court found a homeowners' policy's auto exclusion "precluded coverage for injury caused when an insured used his pickup truck and a pullye in an attempt to lift a portable toilet onto a deer stand."

Farmers Automobile v. Danner (Ill.): "No coverage was owed to an insured, under a homeowners' policy, for damages he allegedly caused" when he ran his vehicle into a man and beat him with a golf club until it broke, all for having "entered the insured's property to retrieve a baseball accidentally hit there by the victim's son." 

Physicians' Insurance Co. of Wisconsin v. Williams: "The Supreme Court of Nevada held that no coverage was owed to a dentist, under a professional liability policy, for a claim that he used street cocaine to anesthetize a patient's gums during a root canal procedure." Wow.

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PhillyDeals posts drafts, transcripts and updates of Joseph N. DiStefano's columns and stories about Philly-area business, which he's been writing since 1989.

DiStefano studied economics, history and a little engineering at Penn and taught writing at St. Joseph's. He has written thousands of columns and articles for the Inquirer, Bloomberg and other media, wrote the book Comcasted, and raised six children with his wife, who is a saint.

Reach Joseph N. at,, 215.854.5194 or 302.652.2004.

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