Monday, September 16, 2013

Mt. Vernon Fire Ins. Co. v. Oxford Hospitality Ent. (Cal. Ct. App. - Sept. 16, 2013)

Plaintiff's definitely sympathetic.  She was horribly burned when a patron at the business at which she worked threw a lit soda bottle filled with gasoline at her.  Terrible event.  You can see why the person who threw the bottle was sentenced to life in prison.

But I've nonetheless got to agree with Justice Croskey (and the trial court).  There's no insurance coverage.  The insurance policy excludes coverage for assault and battery.  What the patron did is battery.  That there was no physical contact between the two people doesn't matter.  Throwing a bottle at someone counts as battery.  That's the end of the case.  Stipulated judgment for $10 million is worth nothing.

P.S. - I thought that Justice Croskey was also (understandably) kind to the plaintiff, despite the fact that she loses the appeal.  Justice Croskey describes her as a "nightclub dancer".  Which is true.  A little research reveals that the nightclub at issue was called "Babes and Beer".  You can guess what type of nightclub it was and the nature of the dancing thereupon.  Someone less nice than Justice Croskey might have used an occupational description slightly different than "nightclub dancer."