Accident Law

Ninth Circuit Confirms That Intentional Act Was No ‘Accident,’ Even If Injury Was Unintended

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, maintaining a district courtroom’s selection, has ruled that, under California regulation, there may be no coverage for a lawsuit alleging intentional conduct. However, the insured did not intend to purpose injury. The Sonoma Land Trust (“SLT”) sued Henstooth Ranch, LLC, in a California state courtroom alleging that Henstooth’s landscaping sports had violated SLT’s conservation easement.

Houndstooth then sued its insurer, The Burlington Insurance Company, searching for a judgment that Burlington owed Henstooth a defense. The U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California granted summary judgment to Burlington. It denied Henstooth’s movement for summary judgment, locating that the Burlington policy did no longer extend to coverage for intentional acts. Houndstooth appealed to the Ninth Circuit.

The Ninth Circuit’s Decision

The circuit court docket affirmed. In its choice, the Ninth Circuit defined that the Burlington policy blanketed assets damage resulting from an “occurrence,” described as “a twist of fate.” The circuit court added that if Henstooth had proven that one of the claims in SLT’s healthy potentially become based on its unintentional conduct, that could have required Burlington to shield Henstooth from the complete suit.

The circuit court docket dominated, but because the landscaping that SLT alleged had prompted its damages changed into completely intentional, the district court docket had effectively decided that Burlington had no duty to protect Henstooth. The Ninth Circuit changed into no longer persuaded by Henstooth’s argument that “the harm changed into accidental,” although the actions it allegedly took have been intentional. The circuit courtroom reasoned that, underneath California regulation, “in which the insured supposed all the acts that resulted inside the sufferer’s damage, the occasion wouldn’t be deemed an ‘accident’ merely due to the fact the insured did not intend to motive injury.”


Because SLT’s fit did now not challenge accidental behavior beneath this kingdom regulation preferred, Burlington had no obligation to protect Henstooth from it, the Ninth Circuit concluded. The case is Henstooth Ranch, LLC v. Burlington Ins. Co., No. 18-15167 (ninth Cir. May 22, 2019). Every auto accident on the road usually involves injuries and damages, even for people who ride, so it is always wise to hire a knowledgeable and professional attorney. When people try to find an attorney handling car accident claims and dealing with all sorts of legal proceedings arising from an auto accident and its consequences, they look up firms and companies in the phone book or online.

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