The Indiana Court of Appeals has denied coverage for two bar patrons injured at a bar, applying the assault-and-battery exclusion in the bar’s CGL policy. In Alea London, Ltd. v. Nagy, the two claimants sought coverage for injuries after one was struck on the head with a bottle by a patron as he was backing away from another patron with his hands in the air, and the second claimant was struck unconscious as he was following the two suspected assailants out of the bar. The claimants obtained judgment against the bar and one assailant, and then sought to enforce the judgment against the insurer. The trial court granted summary judgment to the two claimants, accepting their argument that the attacks were done “apparently acting in the defense of” other patrons, which triggered an exception to a different exclusion. The insurer’s motion for summary judgment based on the assault-and-battery exclusion was denied.
The Court of Appeals held that the assault-and-battery exclusion applied, and its application was not affected by the exceptions found in other exclusions. Relying on a decision of the Indiana Supreme Court, the Court of Appeals held “each exclusion is meant to be read with the insuring agreement, independently of every other exclusion.” Thus, it didn’t matter whether the battery was committed in defense of others. The Court of Appeals reversed the summary judgment for the claimants and directed judgment be entered for the insurer.
(Disclosure: Steve Groth and Bryan Babb of Bose McKinney & Evans LLP represented the insurer in this appeal.)