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George v. Great Lakes Reinsurance (UK) PLC

Court of Appeals of Arkansas, Division I

January 28, 2015

ANTHONY GEORGE; HEART & SOUL, LLC d/b/a THE HEART & SOUL CLUB and d/b/a PNC CLUB; RICOTTA LAMBERT; NECA SCARBER; and VERA GEORGE, APPELLANTS
v.
GREAT LAKES REINSURANCE (UK) PLC, APPELLEE

APPEAL FROM THE BENTON COUNTY CIRCUIT COURT. NO. CV 2011-101.1. HONORABLE XOLLIE DUNCAN, JUDGE.

AFFIRMED.

Taylor Law Partners, LLP, by: Williams B. Putman, for appellants.

Bassett Law Firm LLP, by: Shannon L. Fant and Dale W. Brown, for appellee.

BRANDON J. HARRISON, Judge. ABRAMSON and GLOVER, JJ., agree.

OPINION

BRANDON J. HARRISON, Judge.

The Benton County Circuit Court granted summary judgment to Great Lakes Reinsurance (UK) PLC. It ruled that Great Lakes had no duty to defend or indemnify separate claims made against the insured (George) because no possibility of coverage existed under the insurance policy. The claims that triggered this coverage dispute were filed in a related circuit-court case. The court found that the commercial general liability policy in this case was unambiguous in excluding coverage for claims arising from an assault or battery that spawned the separate case.

Page 244

George appeals, arguing that the insurance policy is ambiguous. We affirm the circuit court.

I.

The facts are undisputed. George, through appellant Heart & Soul, LLC, owns a facility in Columbia County that is rented out for dances, parties, and other events. At one of these events, a gunman fired into the crowd and injured several people. Two of those injured, appellants Ricotta Lambert and Neca Scarber, were shot and later filed suit (the underlying action) in Columbia County against George, his LLC, and several John Does, alleging that George and his LLC were negligent in failing to protect them and seeking compensatory and punitive damages.

When the events leading to the underlying action occurred, George was insured under a commercial general liability insurance policy issued by Great Lakes. Under the policy's liability coverage, Great Lakes agreed to pay damages for bodily injuries caused by an " occurrence." The policy defined " occurrence" as " an accident, including continuous or repeated exposure to substantially the same general harmful conditions."

There was also exclusionary language in section ...


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