Summary Judgment - No Duty To Defend Wrongful Death Case

Attorney Joe Postel obtained summary judgment for Allied Property & Cas. Co. (“Allied”) in a declaratory judgment action involving coverage for a wrongful death suit.  Allied issued a homeowners policy and an umbrella policy to Jacob and Elizabeth Skolnik.  In a wrongful death complaint filed against their adult son, Joshua, William Johnson alleges that his daughter, Haley, died as a result of ingesting a lethal dose of methadone provided to her by Joshua.  The complaint alleged that Joshua bought several drinks for Haley in a bar, slipped date-rape drugs into one of her drinks, then brought her to his parents’ house, administered methadone to her, and sexually battered her while she was passed out.  She later died.  According to Johnson’s complaint, the coroner determined that the cause of death was methadone.

Postel moved for summary judgment on the basis of the exclusion in both policies for bodily injury arising out of the use, sale, manufacture, delivery, transfer or possession by any person of a controlled substance; he argued that to the extent this exclusion did not encompass the sexual battery claim, there was no coverage for that claim because it did not involve an “occurrence,” i.e., an accidental injury, but rather, an expected or intended injury.  Johnson and Skolnik made a number of arguments in opposition, but Judge Rita Novak entered summary judgment for Allied, finding and declaring that it owes no duty to defend Joshua Skolnik.  Allied Prop. & Cas. Co. v. Jacob Skolnik et al., Circuit Court of Cook County, no. 12 CH 41359, July 22, 2014.