Essex Ins. Co. v. Greenville Convalescent Home, Inc., 2006 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 56502 (D. Miss. 2006)

Plaintiff filed an action in State court alleging negligence, gross negligence, intentional infliction of emotional distress and fraud. Essex filed its action for declaratory judgment and then filed a motion for summary judgment alleging there was no coverage “because: (1) many of the claims occurred before the first policy took effect and after the third policy expired; (2) there was no “occurrence” triggering coverage for “bodily injury”; and (3) some or all of the claims fall under one or all of the following exclusions: (a) the expected or intended injury exclusion (b) punitive damages exclusion; (c) hiring and/or supervision exclusions; (d) dishonest, fraudulent, criminal, or malicious acts or omissions exclusion; (e) the third policy’s breach of contract exclusion; and (f) the assault and battery exclusion.” Initially the court found the duty to defend is broader than the duty to indemnify and that Essex had a duty to defend the insured. Next, the court found that Essex’s duty to indemnify was limited by the duration of coverage, July 7, 1997 through July 7, 2001. The court found that claims of negligence, gross negligence and medical malpractice were an occurrence within the meaning of the policy, but fraud and intentional infliction of emotional distress were not since by their nature they are intentional conduct. The policies included an exclusion for punitive damages so, if recovered, they are not covered by the policy. Citing Roman Catholic Diocese v. Morrison, 905 So. 2d 1213 (Miss. 2005), the court concluded there is no distinct claim for negligent hiring, training, placement or supervision in Mississippi, so an exclusion of those claims was no applicable as they were simply a negligence claim. The assault and battery exclusion did not apply to Plaintiff’s abuse claims since none of them were framed as civil assault or battery. The same result was reached in the following related cases: Essex Ins. Co. v. Greenville Convalescent Home, Inc., 2006 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 56329 (D. Miss. 2006); Essex Ins. Co. v. Greenville Convalescent Home, Inc., 2006 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 56503 (D. Miss. 2006); Essex Ins. Co. v. Greenville Convalescent Home, Inc., 2006 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 56505 (D. Miss. 2006).

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