Insured’s Volitional Acts Fell Short Of Uncovered Intentional Conduct

Damages caused by an insured who messed up a shipment of cleaning solution by adding the wrong chemical mix were covered as an “occurrence” in the insured’s Commercial General Liability (CGL) policy, the Michigan Court of Appeals has held. An occurrence is defined in a CGL as an event that produces, within the coverage period, property damage or bodily injury that is unexpected and unintended from the standpoint of an insured.
In J. Collins, Inc. v. Cleaning Solutions, Inc. v. Citzens Ins. Co., Inc., WL 170428 (January 24, 2006), the appellate court affirmed the trial court and explained that intentional acts that cause intentional damage are different from intentional acts that cause unintentional damage. The analysis, the court said, is of subjective intent from the point of view of the insured. The court cited precedent in which pulling the trigger on a gun the insured thought was unloaded produced unintended damage, while starting a fire to cause smoke damage to inventory that led to a runaway fire produced excluded, intended damage.

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