Steven Plitt, Expert Witness Steven Plitt, Expert Witness
Insurance Bad Faith Claim Handling Expert Serving Clients Nationwide

November 2020 Archives

CHILD ABUSE IN SCHOOL BUS DOES NOT GIVE RISE TO UM CLAIM

Recently the Supreme Court of Virginia in Corriveau v. State Farm Mutual Auto Insurance Co., 836 S.E.2d 694 (Va. 2019) ruled that child abuse inflicted by a bus driver and a bus driver's aide were not covered by the victim's uninsured motorist coverage. The Court found that the tortious misconduct could have occurred anywhere and therefore it did not result specifically from the use of the bus for transportation purposes. The case involved the abuse of an autistic child whereby a school bus driver and the driver's aide inflicted physical injury on the autistic child. The child's mother reported the claim to her uninsured motorist insurer, State Farm. State Farm denied coverage on the ground that the injuries did not arise from the use of the bus itself. Ultimately, the Virginia Supreme Court found that the abused child was not injured by the use of the bus as a bus, but rather upon experiencing physical abuse by adults upon special needs children. That type of conduct was not intrinsically associated with the use of a motor vehicle and could have occurred anywhere. The court reached this result notwithstanding the fact that the bus was equipped with special harnesses to keep the children restrained. The Court noted that the harness could restrain a person anywhere, not just on a bus.

PROPERTY INSURERS ARE NOT ALLOWED TO DEPRECIATE LABOR COSTS WHEN CALCULATING ACTUAL CASH VALUE IN MISSISSIPPI

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit in Mitchell v. State Farm Fire and Cas. Co., 954 F.3d 700 (5th Cir. 2020), applying Mississippi law, held that State Farm's definition of actual cash value was ambiguous and therefore had to be interpreted in the homeowners' favor. The State Farm policy did not define actual cash value and the Court found that the term "actual cash value" by itself was ambiguous as a matter of law. Thus, labor costs were part of ACV.

MARYLAND ADOPTS PRO-RATA ALLOCATION ON A TIME ON RISK BASIS

In Rossello v. Zurich Am. Ins. Co., 468 Md. 92, 226 A.3d 444 (2020), the Maryland Supreme Court held that Maryland law did not permit "all sums" allocation of liability policies in continuous and progressive injury cases. The Court held that for continuous and progressive injury cases, allocation would be made on a pro-rata basis, by time on the risk, among all insureds and insured periods that were triggered by the injury. Moreover, the insured was responsible for liability allocated to periods during which the insured was uninsured or had insurance that excluded coverage, provided that the liability coverage was available in the marketplace.

Contact Steven Plitt

Bold labels are required.

Contact Information
disclaimer.

The use of the Internet or this form for communication with the firm or any individual member of the firm does not establish an attorney-client relationship. Confidential or time-sensitive information should not be sent through this form.

close

Privacy Policy

Phone: 602-322-4038