Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Ferguson v. Coregis Ins. Co. (9th Cir. - June 3, 2008)

It's fun to read an opinion in which a particular sentence or analogy appears in its midst totally from left field. Like here.

The case involves insurance coverage, and the question revolves around the appropriate coverage amount. The policyholder says it's $2,000,000, the amount listed on the declarations page. The insurance company says it's $500,000 pursuant to a particular clause that says that, for certain claims, the amount listed on the declarations page is replaced by the "limit of liability per the amount indicated by the Idaho Code § 6-924," which in turn provides that the minimum (but not maximum) amount of coverage is $500,000.

The Ninth Circuit holds that the insurance company's position is erroneous because Section 6-924 doesn't establish a "limit of liability" at all, since it contains no limits, only minimum coverage. Hence the attempt to establish an alternative limit doesn't work.

Here's the random line. And I think it's a great one:

"Section 6-924 simply does not contain any limit of liability any more than would a contract to price season tickets 'per the amount indicated' for Los Angeles’s professional football team."

Psyche! Because, of course, L.A. doesn't have a football team anymore. Which is an awesome -- and totally parenthetical -- slam on the City of Angels.

It's also, I might add, a huge insult -- albeit assuredly unintended -- on the Los Angeles Avengers (and their players!), who are in the Arena Football League and assuredly consider themselves a "professional football team" in Los Angeles.

I'm sure the panel meant by "professional" to mean "NFL". Which was a drafting (or knowledge) error that was particularly funny since the panel held against the insurance company here based upon unclear language (even though, from reading the exclusion, I knew exactly what the insurance company was trying to do) and yet then used unclear and/or erroneous language itself.

Regardless, I loved the "where'd that come from" analogy to the absence of the Rams, Raiders, or any other NFL team in the Second Largest City in America. I wish I knew which judge wrote the per curiam opinion in this one. Because I love the gratutious football reference. Love it.