Courts are tough on exclusions but when an exclusion is clear it will preclude coverage. In a recent case, an exclusion for bodily injury arising out of weapons resulted in a coverage case being dismissed
In Funky 544, L.L.C. v. Houston Specialty Insurance Co., No. 21-30310 (5th Cir. Oct. 22, 2021) (Summary Order), two patrons of the policyholder bar were stabbed by an underage patron. They sued for bodily injuries and the bar sought coverage from its insurer. The insurer denied liability. The bar brought a coverage action and the insurer moved for summary judgment based on an exclusion for bodily injury arising out of weapons. The district court granted the motion and the Fifth Circuit affirmed.
The relevant exclusion provided as follows
This insurance does not apply to, “bodily injury,” “property damage,” “personal and advertising injury,” “injury” or medical expense arising out of firearms or weapons or out of any act or omission in connection with the prevention or suppression of firearms or weapons, including failure to warn, train or supervise, whether caused by or at the instigation or direction of the insured, his employees, patrons or any other person or failure to render aid and/or notify emergency personnel.
“Weapons” was defined to include knives.
In affirming, the appellate court stated that “[t]he term in this exclusion of “arising out of” the use of weapons
unambiguously provides that for coverage, an injury must be entirely separate from those relating to the use of weapons.” Here, the court found, “every negligence claim in the state court suit derived from the stabbing.” Accordingly, the grant of summary judgment in favor of the insurer was affirmed.