Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Judge Mazzoni of Lackawanna County Upholds Criminal Acts Exclusion in Homeowner's Policy

In the case of Donegal Mutual Ins. Co. v. Lochner, Lees, et. al., No. 2008-CIV-6100 (Lacka. Co. March 15, 2011, Mazzoni, J.), Judge Robert A. Mazzoni of the Lackawanna County Court of Common Pleas upheld a criminal acts exclusion found in a Donegal Mutual Insurance Company homeowner’s insurance policy as clearly and unambiguously precluding coverage in this matter.

In this declaratory judgment action on a coverage issue, the underlying lawsuit involved a wrongful death and survival action for the fatal injuries of the decedent, allegedly caused by the son of the Donegal Insurance insureds. The decedent and the son had been involved in a physical altercation which resulted in fatal injuries to the decedent. When the decedent's estate sued the son and other Defendants, coverage was sought by the Defendants under the parent’s homeowner’s insurance policy with Donegal.

In agreeing with Donegal that coverage was indeed precluded by the criminal acts exclusion under the policy, the Court pointed to the fact that the son had pled guilty to involuntary manslaughter.

Anyone desiring a copy of this decision of Donegal v. Lochner may contact me at dancummins@comcast.net.

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