Diane B. Sher and Matthew E. Selmasska Secure Victory for Great Lakes Insurance in Coverage Action

October 7, 2019

Fineman Krekstein & Harris partner Diane B. Sher and Matthew E. Selmasska, an associate, have secured a victory for Great Lakes Insurance in a declaratory judgment action regarding an insurance coverage question. In Great Lakes Insurance SE v. Vincent Smithwick, et al., Great Lakes filed a declaratory judgment action, arguing that it owed no coverage to its insured under a commercial general liability policy’s assault and battery exclusion. See Great Lakes Insurance SE v. Vincent Smithwick, et al.. No. 2:18-cv-04797, 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 171622 (E.D. Pa. Oct. 2, 2019). Smithwick filed an underlying action in the Philadelphia County Court of Common Pleas after he suffered a gunshot wound in a tavern parking lot. Smithwick brought various negligence claims against the adjacent business owners, including the insured. Smithwick’s negligence allegations normally would have triggered coverage under the policy. Sher and Selmasska, however, successfully argued that the underlying facts revealed Smithwick suffered from an assault and/or battery, which is a clear an unambiguous exclusion precluding coverage under the policy.

A copy of the Court’s opinion can be found here http://www.pabadfaithlaw.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/10/Great-Lakes-01641157xB05D9.pdf