Monday, August 22, 2022

Court Applies Criminal Acts Exclusion in Homeowner's Policy to Deny Coverage to Insured After an Altercation

In the case of Safeco Ins. Co. of Illinois v. Gasiorowski, No. 2:20-CV-03877-GAM (E.D. Pa. July 5, 2022 McHugh, J.), the court granted a homeowners insurance carrier’s Motion for Summary Judgment in this action in which the carrier sought a judicial declaration that it had no duty to defend or indemnify a Defendant in a personal injury action.

According to the Opinion, the underlying claim arose from a physical altercation with the Plaintiff that led to a criminal assault charge against the insured Defendant. The Defendant pled nolo contendere to the criminal charges.

The court found that the criminal acts exclusion in the policy barred coverage.

The court noted that, although a plea of nolo contendere to the criminal charges was not conclusive in this context, the court also found that a video of the incident showed that no reasonable juror could have found that the Defendant’s actions in assaulting the Plaintiff were justified or were in self-defense as alleged by the Defendant.

As such, the Motion for Summary Judgment was granted in favor of the carrier on the denial of coverage.

Anyone wishing to review a copy of this decision may click this LINK

Source: “Digest of Recent Opinions.” Pennsylvania Law Weekly (July 28, 2022).

Source of Image:  Photo by Kindel Media on

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