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No insurance claim for shooting because of assault exception (US)

25 May 2021 Patrick Bracher, Norton Rose Fulbright
Patrick Bracher, Norton Rose Fulbright

Patrick Bracher, Norton Rose Fulbright

The Illinois District Court rejected a liability claim by a nightclub against the insurer arising from a personal injury suit resulting from a shooting because of an assault exception.

 The exception excluded any claim “arising out of, related to, or, in any way involving any actual or alleged assault, battery, harmful or offensive contact, or threat, whether provoked or unprovoked” including the failure to prevent or suppress such events.  The exclusion applied “regardless of fault or intent or of the particular cause of action”.

The insured nightclub alleged that they were entitled to cover because the claim arose from inadequate security at the club and failing to take necessary steps to prevent the shootings.  The court held that the exclusion was all-encompassing in scope.  A shooting is indisputably “harmful” contact.  The underlying complainant’s allegations “relate to, or, in any way involve … harmful or offensive contact”.  Even if the claim was based on inadequate security, the failure to suppress or prevent any harmful or offensive contact or to provide an environment safe from harm was specifically excluded.

This shows that when you say what you mean in a policy the court will find it means what it says.

[Kinsale Insurance Co v Last Coast Entertainment LLC case no. 1:19-cv-05771: US District Court for the Northern District of Illinois]

First published by: Financial Institutions Legal Snapshot

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