Intentionally Striking Another Individual Ruled Not An 'Occurrence' And Therefore Uncovered Even If Done In Self-Defense

David v. Allstate Ins. Co., 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 119473 (C.D. Cal. Aug. 25, 2014)

In David, the Central District of California ruled that intentionally hitting and biting another person was not an accident, and therefore did not fall within a homeowners' policy's definition of "occurrence," even though the hitting and biting was allegedly done in self-defense.

David arose out of an altercation between the insured and the claimant on October 17, 2007. While certain details of the altercation were disputed, both parties agreed that the insured struck the claimant with a hammer and bit her. These allegations resulted in a criminal complaint against the insured for attempted murder, attempted voluntary manslaughter, burglary and assault. The jury found the insured not guilty on each of those charges. Subsequently, the claimant filed a civil suit against the insured for "intentional tort and general negligence." In her complaint, the claimant alleged that the insured stalked her before ultimately confronting and chasing her. The insured tendered the complaint to his homeowners' insurance carrier. The carrier had issued a policy covering "Occurrences," which the policy defined in relevant part as "an accident."

As part of its investigation, the insurance company took the insured's recorded statement. During that statement, the insured took the position that the claimant was the initial aggressor and that his acts of hitting the claimant with a hammer and biting her were done in self-defense. The carrier denied coverage, and the underlying action was eventually settled for $300,000. The settlement included an assignment and a covenant not to execute the judgment against the insured. The claimant sued the carrier, which...

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