Seyferth Blumenthal & Harris LLC (SBH) partner Bruce Moothart recently obtained a favorable ruling for a Liberty Mutual Insurance affiliate company. A Tenth Circuit panel affirmed a lower court ruling, agreeing that an “intentional loss” exclusion applied on an insured couple’s claim for a destructive fire at their house set by a family member.
The three-judge appellate panel said in an unpublished opinion that the policy in question clearly and unambiguously excluded coverage in this instance.
SBH’s client faced hundreds of thousands of dollars in potential liability, but a Kansas federal court’s ruling citing precedent from the Kansas Supreme Court in Thomas v. Benchmark Insurance Co. in 2008 was upheld. The family first sued Liberty Mutual in Kansas state court in January 2019 after the insurer denied the claim. The suit was later moved to federal court where, U.S. District Judge John W. Broomes granted Liberty Mutual’s motion for summary judgment.
On appeal, the10th Circuit panel also rejected the claim Liberty Mutual acted in bad faith for failing to properly investigate all circumstances before triggering the exclusion clause. Moothart represented Liberty Mutual in all phases of the litigation.
A recap of the case can be read on Law360.com. Please note, a subscription may be required.
Moothart is a partner at SBH with a practice focused on representing businesses and professionals in complex litigation with an emphasis on insurance-related issues. An accomplished trial lawyer, he has represented clients in lawsuits in more than 20 states.