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State Farm Fire & Cas. Co. v. Wilkerson, 2016 WL 3267347 (Del. Super. June 7, 2016)

Delaware Superior Court grants Motion for Summary Judgment based on “intentional acts” exclusion of homeowners insurance policy.

A homeowner’s insurance company filed a declaratory judgment alleging that it did not owe defense and/or indemnification in an underlying tort suit based on a policy exclusion for “bodily injury or property damage which is either expected or intended by the insured.”   The underlying tort action resulted from a child shooting a paintball gun at a group of his friends.  The paintball struck another child in the eye, causing severe injury.  At his deposition, the child that shot the paintball gun testified that he intended to shoot at the people in the group, that he intended to hit one of them, and that at the time he fired the paintball gun, he knew it may cause injury. 

Based upon the child’s testimony, summary judgment was filed in the declaratory judgment action arguing that the testimony indicated intentional conduct, coverage for which should be excluded under the policy.  The Court granted summary judgment, finding that it was clear from the facts that the child intentionally fired the paintball at the group of kid.  Further, when firing the paintball, he intended to hit at least one of the kids in the group and he knew that in doing so he could cause injury.  As such, the Court held that “this type of intentional conduct that creates a substantial probability of injury to another person is excluded from the homeowner’s insurance policy”.  As such no defense and/or indemnity was required to be provided in the underlying tort action under the homeowner’s insurance policy.   


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