Category Legal Affairs

Animals cannot commit vandalism and malicious mischief (US)

14 October 2019 Patrick Bracher, Norton Rose Fulbright
Patrick Bracher

Patrick Bracher

An insured sued under their Dwelling Policy for a substantial amount of damage that had been caused to their home by racoons which somehow entered the dwelling. They relied on the cover provided for ‘vandalism and malicious mischief’ which cannot be applied to animals, said the Pennsylvania court.

Not surprisingly, the court found that ‘vandalism’ implies deliberately destroying or damaging property and ‘malicious’ means intending or intended to do harm. Raccoons and their companions in the animal kingdom cannot formulate the intent to engage in vandalism, malicious mischief or any other criminal or actionable conduct.

Animals do not have conscious agency and are not subjects of human law. The plain language meaning of the words precluded the claim.

Previous courts in the US have reached similar conclusions regarding a deer which leapt through a glass door and out of a window, and damage caused to a property by a bobcat.

The case is Capital Flip, LLC v American Modern Select Insurance Company.


First published by: Financial Institutions Legal Snapshot

Quick Polls


No developing economy has ever built a single-payer complementary NHI equivalent covering the entire population. NHI promises comprehensive care but it is also 100% free at the point-of-service. Is this practical?


It is doable but collaboration is key
South Africa is not in a position to build NHI
The only conclusion possible is that the private healthcare sector is not going to disappear or change
There is little chance that the NHI will be able to receive significant government funding
A E fanews magazine
FAnews August 2019 Get the latest issue of FAnews

This month's headlines

Create designer policies through AI
Are advisers in a precarious position?
A claim, COIDA and a dog bite
Non-disclosure never an innocent fraud
Prescribed assets: The threat to pensions
Cannabis and the issue of trust
Getting the most from disability claims
Subscribe now