Archive | Insurance policy exclusions

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Parker v. Safeco Insurance Co.

Parker v. Safeco Insurance Co., 2016 MT 173 (July 19, 2016) (McGrath, C.J.) (5-0, aff’d)

Issue: Whether the district court erred in construing Parker’s insurance policy as excluding coverage for damage caused by a large rock falling down a hillside into Parker’s cabin. 

Short Answer: No.


Facts: In March 2014, a large boulder dislodged from a hillside and fell down the hill into Parker’s unoccupied cabin, causing substantial damage. Parker submitted a claim to his insurer, Safeco.…

Fisher v. State Farm

Fisher v. State Farm, 2013 MT 208 (July 30, 2013) (7-0) (Rice, J.)

Issue: Whether the district court properly granted summary judgment to the plaintiffs on the basis that the family member exclusion in the plaintiffs’ umbrella policy was unconscionable.

Short Answer: No. A household exclusion in an umbrella policy does not violate Montana public policy, and the plaintiffs did not meet their burden of proving unconscionability.


Newman v. Scottsdale Insurance Co.

Newman v. Scottsdale Insurance Co., 2013 MT 125 (May 7, 2013) (5-1) (Cotter, J., for the majority; Wheat, J., dissenting)

Issue: (1) Whether the district court erred in considering inadmissible evidence and facts beyond the allegations of the complaint in determining that the insurers had a duty to defend; (2) whether the district court erred in finding a duty to defend but not applying the policy exclusions; (3) whether the district court erred in calculating and awarding attorneys’ fees to Newman; and (4) whether the district court erred in finding Montana law controls.

Short Answer: (1) Yes, but it was harmless; (2) no; (3) yes, because it should not have used the contingency fee agreement between Newman and her attorneys as a basis; and (4) no.…